Breaking a bad habit can definitely be a struggle. Starting a good one can prove even harder. But, if you have the right approach, you can maximize your willpower and get yourself on the right track! Here’s how.
#1 Start Small
Many people make the big mistake of trying to go “cold turkey” with their bad habits. They think up multiple things that they want to change and, as if it can happen at the snap of a finger, they try and commit themselves to this massive shift in their lifestyle. Sometimes, with the right mindset and circumstances, this works out–but most of the time, it simply doesn’t.
Instead, in order to maximize your chances of sticking to the change and experiencing success and to minimize the risk of you relapsing later, it’s best to start with small changes. This means figure out what you want to be different in your life, and then think up one thing that you can do each day (or stop doing each day) in order to progress towards that goal.
Example: I want to slim down.
Change: I will skip my morning donut and have oatmeal instead.
Making this single change could add up big in the long run and it sets you on the right path to making additional changes down the road.
#2 Add New Habits
As you get used to your morning oatmeal and begin to notice your donut cravings subsiding, the next step in your habit change program would be to find another habit that you can make or break to continue progressing towards your goal. For instance, maybe that morning oatmeal could be complimented by freshly squeezed juice.
This same model can be applied to any goal you set for yourself, whether you want to expand upon your knowledge, work towards a promotion, get a new car, and so forth. Anything you want to do can be accomplished with habits! In fact, there’s a wonderful quote that goes: “We are what we repeatedly do.” In other words, occasionally eating a salad wouldn’t really be a big deal in the grand scheme of your healthy goal. That’s why you need to look at your daily routine and make small changes.
#3 Reward Yourself
As you move on down your path to success, remember how far you have come. Keeping a journal can help you keep up with the goals you are setting for yourself and the habits you are making or breaking in order to reach them. This is a great way for you to plan out the habit changes you want to make in your life and then stay accountable while working on them.
When you successfully alter one of your daily habits, be sure to reward yourself. This may mean a pat on the back or something else that will help motivate you to continue working towards your goal while letting you take a step back and simply appreciate your willpower and commitment towards the goal you have set.
#4 Mix Your Goals
Now, while you want to start small with only one or two simple habit changes at a time, there is one thing you probably do have a lot of: big goals! And, the great thing about our goals is that they usually overlap in some way.
For instance, if you’re dreaming of a promotion and also trying to level up your knowledge, you might find that learning a new language will open new doors for you at the workplace because, in today’s global world, that’s definitely considered an asset. That means finding where your goals overlap can help you choose your habit changes more effectively.
#5 Never Stop Improving
The “final” step in your progress towards your goals is to remember that you should always be changing your habits, setting new goals, and improving yourself. There is always room for improvement, so never stop striving for something more.
And, when you find yourself nearing your old bad habits again, keep yourself motivated and on track. It’s okay if you find yourself getting off the right path for a day, a week, or even a month. Maybe you’re pushing yourself too far, too fast. You can always get yourself back on the right track if you simply sit down and remember why you wanted to make the change in the first place.
Don’t waste time beating yourself up. Spend your effort wisely and pour it into your daily routine so that you can finally reach your biggest goals in life! It all starts today.