How to Change a Habit That is Hurting You
In my last post, Are Your Habits Hurting You?, I wrote about the things we tend to do that have been on autopilot, but reached a point where they no longer serve us. If you have identified a hurtful habit that you are ready to move beyond, read on. Over the next few weeks, I’ll give you five steps for changing a habit that is hurting you. Here is step one…
STEP ONE: Make a decision, a declaration and a commitment to yourself.
There is power in willingness. I’m talking about more than good intentions here, though that is where it all starts. People are at the threshold of change when the pain of one behavior becomes greater than its payoff. But in order for that momentum to take hold, the perceived payoff of making a change needs to be greater than the seeming pain of giving something up as well.
The trouble is, you may not really know what that payoff will be, and though you also may not know just what will be involved with making a change, your mind will be off and running creating scenarios that have you believing it will be far harder than anything you can possibly imagine. And that can become a real show stopper if you aren’t ready for it. It’ll keep you from getting out of bed in the morning. It’ll lead you to head for the hills when you are on the verge of bold, courageous action. It’ll make the old beaten path you’ve been traveling seem so much more preferable than heading into the uncertainty of whether you will be able to do whatever it is you are learning to do in place of your old behavior.
So you have to make a commitment to yourself. You have to get really clear in your mind that you will no longer tolerate your old way of doing things and decide that you will do whatever it takes to move beyond it. It helps if you write it down. And it also helps if you tell someone else about it – someone who can remind you of all the reasons you are doing it, of what you have to gain, and of what you are rising above and why.
Think about a habit you would like to move beyond. How has it been hurting your effectiveness? Your credibility? Your peace of mind? What would you gain by rising above it? What could you do if you no longer fell into that pattern of behavior? How would you feel?
Are you ready to make a change? If so, make a commitment right now to yourself. Write it down and then share it with someone who will support you as you endeavor to carry that commitment out. If you would like to make a public declaration as well, feel free to share your commitment in the comments section below.
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