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Want to Change Those Bad Habits? Try This Technique

Sat, 01/02/2016 - 10:25am | by Helen Hoart

It’s the New Year and it’s time to once again to dust off those resolutions and try one more time to:

·         Exercise more

·         Stop smoking

·         Eat better

·         Give up caffeine, alcohol or chocolate

·         Or whatever other bad habit you’ve been trying to scrap from time immemorial

Have you ever noticed that the problem you are struggling with is stated in the present? I am struggling with my weight. I hate my job. I am struggling to quit smoking. But the intention to change, the resolution, is future oriented. I am going to start my diet tomorrow. I plan to look for a job next month, etc. 

Is there a way to get off the resolution merry ground and really accomplish our goals? What does it take to make New Year’s resolutions become a reality?  Maybe instead of making resolutions, you should consider making affirmations. Affirmations are conscious positive thoughts.  When you make an affirmation you are declaring that something is true. That it's real and a part of your life. 

Let’s look at the difference between a resolution and an affirmation.

Resolution                                                                                   Affirmation

I am going to stop smoking                                                            I  am smoke free

I am going to work on losing weight                                                I am losing weight

I am going to find a new job                                                           I am looking for a job

An affirmation puts you in the present and makes you an active participant of the change you want. It’s not about some future action.  It’s about now, and you are making it true. 

The second part of making affirmations is practice.  That’s right. Practice—the conscious act of making sure you achieve what you want.  Want to lose weight? Practice healthy eating? Want to find a new job? Practice your job-seeking skills. Want to get out of a bad relationship?  Practice you relationship building skills with friends and family.

Believe:  The next step is to believe you can achieve your goals.  You must believe in your own ability to achieve them. If you’re making resolutions but going into them with the mindset that “I know this isn’t going to work. It never does.” Guess what? You’ll be proved right. 

Instead, when you make a resolution this year, resolve to accomplish it.

Have a plan and be specific

Let’s say your New Year’s resolution is to exercise more.  That’s very general.  Instead lay out how you will accomplish your goal to exercise more (and be reasonable).  I will go to the gym three times a week and uses the treadmill for 45 minutes each time. Or I will attend 3 exercise classes a week. Remember, many of our resolutions depend on the activity becoming part of our life, becoming a habit.

Find someone else who shares your goal.  Trying to change a bad habit into a good habit is a struggle. Finding a buddy helps.  You can support each other along the way.

No matter what you choose to do—make a New Year’s resolution or not, do pledge to make this year one in which you come closer to the being the kind of person you want to be. 

Happy New Year!

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