How to Make or Break a Habit

How to Make or Break a Habit

– Firstly, change is easier said than done
– five steps:
1) Reality check
– Make sure this is something that you actually want
– Ask yourself: Why am I doing this? If the answer begins with a “hedge”, it may be time to have a rethink
– Also ask yourself: For whom am I doing this? If there was no status attached or if no one could see you, would you still do it?
2) Make your tasks specific
– Avoid vague goals
– Concrete goals are those which you can either measure or observe
3) Breakdown goals into very small steps
– Particularly when you are anxious or reluctant about a particular task
– Zooming in allows you to forget about the rest of the task and allows you then to not feel overwhelmed
– for e.g. A person with diabetes may wish to change from a couch potatoe into a person who exercises – however, the daily commitment was too intimidating & the person made excuses not to exercise
– The same person then broke the task into small pieces
A) Eat a banana (Perhaps peeling the banana could be an additional step)
B) Find gym clothes to exercise in
C) Change into those clothes (Break down further into shorts, T-shirt, shoes, socks)
D) Locate car keys
E) Drive to the gym
[He did not allow himself to think about the next step until he had completed the previous step]
4) Make it brainless
– If it is not convenient and easy, we often do not stick with the change
– Have cues and reminders in your surrounding environment
– Link things which you forget to another activity that you do not (For example cleaning your teeth and taking medication &/or Placing the medication near your toothbrush)
– Make necessary larger scale changes such as changing gym memberships to a gym closer to where you study or work
5) Feeling wrong and awkward at first
– The first few times when you do anything particularly new, it often does not feel rewarding
– You may also feel anxious
– Therefore give yourself permission to get it wrong and screw it up badly
– Remember to just keep showing up & fine tuning your system/approach

Source: Savvy Psychologist podcast | 3 December 2016


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