Stop bad habits. Start good habits. The simple way.
Many books have been written on overcoming bad habits. When you look around seems like everyone has their own prescription for the process. And so do I. I learned what works and what doesn’t work for me.
The reason why this post is very simple is: engaging in the bad habits happens so fast we don’t even have a chance to notice that we have a choice. So a simple solution is a must.
On the other hand the positive habits are soooo haaard to create and they are sooo boring in the beginning that using a complicated process would not help for sure.
This is what I use to create discipline around my habits: knowledge and setting up my environment.
You can use it for both, good habits and bad habits
Exercise, eating healthy, avoiding sugar… when you know WHY you exercise or avoid sugar, it is easier to choose the positive actions. There is no running away from research, from what we know for sure, AND there is no running away from your own experience: when you engage in the healthy habit your self-esteem improves, your body and mind feels better, and who doesn’t like that.
Knowledge equals self-discipline equals self-confidence
So when you want to start something healthy – simply read on it, research WHY it’s a good idea. Sure there is a lot of false info out there, so preferably read books and when looking at research find our who is behind it. Research can be manipulated quite easily.
Side note: knowledge about the future: you don’t need to be a clairvoyant to know what will be the consequences if you engage in the bad habit you struggle with. We know exactly what will be the consequences of our choices. We just don’t want to think about it, because we prefer to choose “guilty” pleasure now vs wellness later.
2. Prepare your ENVIRONMENT
Preparing your environment means setting yourself up for success. Not preparing it – sets you up for failure.
A. Remove it. For example: do you have a habit of snacking on “food” that is not good for anyone? Remove it now from the place where you eat it most often: office, car, home. (that’s the place where you have the emotional reasons to eat it)
B. Don’t buy it: it’s easier to be mindful at a store, than at home reaching for sweets when you are stressed or bored. You may think it’s a sad house with no sweets, but soon you will get used to it and you will feel the difference.
C. Use sticky notes. Addicted to buying stuff you don’t need? Put sticky notes on the credit cards with a message that would discourage you.. I don’t know… like: “You don’t need it and you know it”, “Wait 3 days and see if you still want it”, “You are truly enough without it”, “Regain sanity, NOW” , “You are out of your mind”
Of curse no system is foolproof.
I have had times when I prepared my environment (no sweets at home) and I had the knowledge that that awesome chocolate cake is just flour and sugar, both bad, but I also had the knowledge of where to find the best stuff. And I still made a 5 mile trip to get it.
And so what. Based on “The little book of big change” experiencing “setbacks” and giving into urges is natural and doesn’t prevent recovery.
- Hold on to the good feeling after you did something healthy and good for yourself.
- Hold on to the feeling of empowerment once you stayed with the good habit for three weeks.
- Notice the ripple effects on OTHER significant parts of life. One good habit helps to build the next good habit. Now it’s the part of the new you.
Do you need something even simpler? Here is a question to ask yourself that will give you instant clarity and energy to act on your habits!