9/22/2007

Handling your habits

We all know how difficult it is to change those long standing unproductive habits that we know are holding us back. Here are some practical things to remember which will help you handle your habits.

1. Place focus on your goal(s). The reason you want to change your habit is because you have have some goal you want to reach. Your current behaviors you now follow are likely not conducive to that goal. You will only realize your goal once you modify your actions into ones that are congruent with your goal. So in essence, you need to really focus on the major reason(s) why you want to change before and during the behavioral changing process. Those reasons a the key tools for your motivation while creating your new habit.

2. Do not think about what you are doing, think about what you are producing. We will easily go back to our old ways of doing things if we think about the act and not the result. The more you focus on what you are doing (or not doing), the more likely you will return to our old ways. Flip your thinking to focus on what you are creating. For instance, every time you wake up in the morning and exercise, you are creating a healthier, more fit person. Every time you wake up in the morning and do not exercise, you are creating an out of shape unhealthy person. Remember, you are always creating not matter what you are doing.

3. Make yourself accountable. Whenever you are putting a new habit into practice, create some sort of method for evaluating what went well and what went wrong. Do not just assume that you will start reading 3 books a month simply because you said you would. Think of how best to make yourself accountable. Should you partner with a friend who will check up on your performance? Should you create a check sheet that you review daily or weekly? Make sure the method you use will be one that you will definitely implement. It will do you no good to set up an accountability tool that you will not end up using.

4. Do it daily. Whatever the new habit you decide to create, I recommend that you make it a daily habit. If you do it everyday, you will have a much greater chance of making it stick. If you say you will do it three days a week, you will be more likely to say that you can do it tomorrow and still make you three day a week goal. Next thing you know, the week is over and you have not met your standards. When you do it every day, you are saying to your subconscious mind that the action is now a part of your life and it will readily accept the new behavior more easily over something that you do sporadically throughout the week.

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