Bad habits. We all have them. We all know which habits are bad for us but somehow we have a really hard time trying to change them. I think every single one of us has some bad habit that we instinctively know we should avoid, but don’t. We also know which habits we should be creating for ourselves to live better lives, but yet, year after year, we fail to make new, healthier habits stick. And that’s because we are human, life gets messy and changing a habit is not an easy thing – but it is possible for those that are willing to do the work.
It’s easy to create bad habits, but it’s hard to create good habits.
A habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice. Notice the key word “practice”. Because practice doesn’t mean perfect and I think a lot of us give up on something good when we screw up or give in to temptation temporarily, instead of starting fresh that next hour or that next day or that next week.
“Bad habits are our enemies because they hinder us from being the person we want to be.”
So, if you are ready to tackle a bad habit, here are 5 things that you need to do to set yourself up for success:
#1 – You need to believe in yourself FIRST. Whatever you want to create for yourself, you have to know in your heart, body and mind that you can achieve it. If you think you can, you will.
#2 – You need to hold yourself accountable by letting someone else know what you are trying to do. By holding yourself accountable, it helps you stop making excuses and start taking action. It also helps on those days where you feel resistance or when giving in to temptation just seems so much easier. You have someone you can call. Everyone needs a phone a friend in their lives.
#3 – You need to schedule it. Putting it on your schedule makes it concrete and non-negotiable. For example, if the habit you want to create is going to the gym, then put those workout classes in your calendar. Or if you want to cut down on alcohol, then make sure that specific days are marked no alcohol days on your calendar. Then don’t book any social engagements on those days.
#4 – You need to monitor your progress. Yes, we all slip up from time to time. You had to work late, got sick, or your babysitter cancelled. There are always things that may get in the way of your progress. But if you aren’t monitoring it, how do you know if you are progressing toward your new habit or away from it? It’s also incentive. By seeing how good you are doing at something, it gives you the motivation to continue.
#5 – You need to reward yourself and give yourself a pat on the back. It’s so easy for us to focus on our failures, but this time, I’m asking you to acknowledge every great thing you’ve done, no matter how small or trivial it may seem. Changing habits is a very hard thing to do. Don’t get caught up on your failures, focus on your progress.
Adding better habits to your life will enhance it in so many ways. We all have value. We all have value to bring to ourselves and the people around us. However, to be a person of value, we have to make sure that our bad habits aren’t keeping us from being the person we want to be.