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This Is The Way To Change Your Bad Habits

Fighting Your Resistance To Change

Developing new ways of thinking initially creates significant psychological discomfort. But to persevere you have to recognize that you will naturally want to hold onto your own personal status quo.

To avoid the natural resistance, re-frame the challenge into something you gain and learn.

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This Is The Way To Change Your Bad Habits

This Is The Way To Change Your Bad Habits

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolelipkin/2018/09/19/this-is-the-way-to-change-your-bad-habits/

forbes.com

5

Key Ideas

Don’t Fight Your Biology

Habitual behavior is created by thought patterns, which create neural pathways and memories, which eventually become the default basis for your behavior when you’re faced with choices. Our brains seek pleasure and the effort to abstain from bad habits compels you to do them more because abstention feels bad.

Changing requires new ways of thinking, to trigger new neural pathways, which will in time reward you the same way you were neurologically rewarded by the bad habit.

Fighting Your Resistance To Change

Developing new ways of thinking initially creates significant psychological discomfort. But to persevere you have to recognize that you will naturally want to hold onto your own personal status quo.

To avoid the natural resistance, re-frame the challenge into something you gain and learn.

Think In Steps

To better your odds of changing:

  • Create an action plan
  • Break your new habits into small, attainable goals. Tap into your physiological and psychological tendencies to make the change stick.
  • Set cues to help you meet your goal. Cues are often centered around location, time, emotional states, other people, or something that precedes an action; cues help solidify habits.

Be The Hero Of Your Own Story

Our habits form based on the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. But this stories are not immutable facts, recognizing that is key to change.

Cultivate the belief that you and your life can change and that you are a work in progress. This will lay the foundation for creating the change you want to see in your life.

See The Finish Line

Research indicates that keeping your eye on the prize makes the prize in question appear closer than if you let yourself get distracted. 

Visualize the finish line as closer than it is to make the process feel easier and keep distractions away. 

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Why Change Is So Hard

Changing is necessary and takes energy but our brains tend to try to conserve energy as much as possible. So we have mental biases that influence our behaviors and make us shy away from opportun...

Make Change a Team Effort

 “Role Modelling” is one of the main factors behind successful change in organizations and consists of inspiring change by example.

While leadership will ultimately give you sign-off, the rest of the team will determine its success. So in an organizational setting, you must convince everyone of the necessity of change. 

Know Who You’re Dealing With

In a collection of individuals, one bad seed can kill all the hard work you’re putting in. You must understand who you are working with so you can tailor your message and actions so no one becomes a bad seed. To do this, sort your team in the following categories:

  • Fast Yes: those on your team and ready to work to implement the change.
  • Slow Yes: slightly skeptical but still open and can see the value in what you’re doing.
  • Fast No: quick to dismiss change but clarity and decisiveness can change that and turn them into strong supporters.
  • Slow No: look like they can be persuaded but have already decided against you and will stall and undermine. Here, convincing by example is the best route.

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Habit tracking

Is a simple and effective thing to do if you want to stick with a habit for good. No matter the format (calendar, journal, app), it provides immediate evidence whether you are making progress or...

The power of habit tracking:
  1. It creates a visual cue that can remind you to act.
  2. It is motivating to see the progress you are making. You don't want to break your streak.
  3. It feels satisfying to record your success in the moment.
To make habit tracking easier:
  1. Manual tracking should be limited to your most important habits
  2. Record each measurement immediately after the habit occurs

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Habit matching

When planning on building new habits, one easy way to integrate them into your everyday routine is by actually adding them to an already existing habit. 

Therefore, choose one habit y...

A step at a time

Once you have made up your mind about taking on a new habit, you might as well start getting used to it. Just remember that we have, as humans, the tendency to work better without pressure and when taking one step at a time. 

Therefore, start by creating small habits and get used to them and you will see how easy it is to build long-lasting routines that will make your life easier.

Practice makes perfect

When having taken the decision to introduce in your routine a new habit, it is very important to remember that practice makes perfect. Consequently, wait no more and start doing even if just a bit every day. You will eventually succeed in adding a new habit while feeling proud of yourself for being consistent.

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Why Set Personal Goals
  • You are in charge. Personal goals force you to take responsibility for the actual efforts and progress.
  • You see the small steps leading to a big picture: big goals c...
“Which? Why? What? How?” Technique

... for choosing personal goals. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Ask yourself which aspect of your life you would like to change most.
  2. Think about why you want to change this.
  3. How will that change make you feel? Determine what exactly will make you feel this way.
  4. Ask yourself how you can make this happen and then make it your personal goal.
The Life Balance Chart Technique
  • Draw a chart. Write down each of the various areas of your life (family, health, self-development, career, relationships) in a new column or line.
  • Assess your current happiness level in each of these categories by giving it a score from 1 to 10.
  • Think what will make you be fully satisfied with these areas. Write down your ideas – you will be able to transform them into personal plans.

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Pointing and calling our habits

Pointing-and-calling is so effective because it raises the level of awareness from a nonconscious habit to a more conscious level. 

The more automatic a behavior becomes, the less...

The Habits Scorecard

... for discovering which habits to change:

  • Make a list of your daily habits.
  • Decide which is a good habit, a bad habit, or a neutral habit, by how they will benefit you in the long run.
  • There is no need to change anything at first, simply acknowledge what is actually going on.
Change and awareness

Changing a behavior always starts with awareness. 

Focus on recognizing your habits and acknowledge the cues that trigger them, which makes it easier to discover which habits you should change and respond in a way that benefits you

Destination Goals

While we set our personal goals, we make the common mistake of setting a 'destination goal', focusing on the end result,  without considering the hardships and daily challenges.

W...

Life Direction

Instead of sticking to dream goals it is better to set a life Direction.

How to figure out a Life Direction? Ask yourself these fundamental questions:

  • What energizes me?
  • What do I look forward to?
  • When do I feel the happiest?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • What kind of places or people inspire me to strive for more?
Action Plan

Determine and plan in advance all the critical parts of your goal, and break it down in small, actionable tasks.

The small, divided tasks keep you motivated by providing a feeling of progress on a daily basis.

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Goal setting
Goal setting

Is the act of selecting a target or objective you wish to achieve.

Goal setting is not only about choosing the rewards you want to enjoy, but also the costs you are willing to pay t...

The Rudders and Oars Metaphor
It helps clarify the difference between SYSTEMS and GOALS:
  • Your goals are like the rudder on a small rowboat. They set the direction and determine where you go. 
  • If you commit to one goal, then the rudder stays put and you continue moving forward. 
  • If you flip-flop between goals, then the rudder moves all around and it is easy to find yourself rowing in circles.
  • If the rudder is your goal, then the oars are your process for achieving it. While the rudder determines your direction, it is the oars that determine your progress.

Example: If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.

How to Set Goals You'll Actually Follow
  1. Ruthlessly Eliminate Your Goals. Consistently prune and trim down your goals. If you can muster the courage to prune away a few of your goals, then you create the space you need for the remaining goals to fully blossom.
  2. Stack Your Goals. Make a specific plan for when, where and how you will perform this."Networking: After I return from my lunch break, I will send one email to someone I want to meet."
  3. Set an Upper Bound. Don't focus on the minimum threshold. Instead of saying,  “I want to make at least 10 sales calls today.” rather say, “I want to make at least 10 sales calls today, but not more than 20.”

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The Dynamics of a Resolution

We all have goals to achieve and behavioral changes we want to implement. Making the resolution is the easy part. The implementation and the work that is to be put in daily is the real challenge.

Why Resolutions Fail
  • Getting motivated by negative emotions like fear or regret.
  • A sudden influx of motivation followed by giving up in the first instance of a setback ("All or Nothing" approach).
  • Having a big and unattainable resolution.
  • Not being in terms with the concept of failure.
  • Not committing fully to the process.
Social Pressure

New research suggests we are less prone to keep working on our goals after we publicize them. This is because we may end up talking about our goals and celebrating our success prematurely rather than implementing them.

Social Pressure makes us fearful, as we can feel afraid of appearing inept. This negative mindset does not work well where we need daily work.

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How to Develop Habits
  • Focus on just one habit, for 30 days.
  • Put it on paper, together with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Commit fully, pr...
attributed to Aristotle
attributed to Aristotle
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Confucius
Confucius
“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”

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Willpower is like a muscle

Just like going to the gym and building up strength, the more you train your willpower by accomplishing tasks on a consistent basis

Self-Discipline - a series of healthy habits

Long term change is better served by building better habits, than by forcing your willpower. 

You will choose the apple over the cake for a number of times ... and then give up. Building a habit to start the day by going to the gym will work better.

Habits = “automatic” responses...

 ...to familiar environmental cues. 

They form when you engage in a behavior repeatedly in the presence of consistent stimuli.

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