Do you want to change your bad habits into good ones? Whether you want to quit smoking or excessive drinking, give up procrastination, succeed in a healthy diet and exercise program, or reprogram your negative thoughts into positive ones, you can succeed if you develop the Power of Positive Habit. Here are some tips that will help you:
*Be Aware of Your Trigger Weakness: Keep a journal in which you write down the times, places, and people that trigger your bad habit. Maybe, you smoke and drink excessively around certain friends. Perhaps, you go back to the same destructive relationships when a thought triggers loneliness in you. Or, you tend to procrastinate when faced with an important project. By recognizing your triggers, you can choose healthy behaviors in place of unhealthy ones (associate with positive people, get involved in a spiritual or life-affirming practice; take one small step each day toward finishing that big project).
*Do the Difficult Thing First: When you’re trying to instill a good habit in yourself (working out, for example), it’s best to do it at your first opportunity. Get up earlier to get your workout in first thing in the morning. Write the difficult email or make that important call early in the day. Once you do the difficult thing first, the rest of the day is easier.
*Reward Yourself Immediately: When you do the new habit, reward yourself. After working out, listen to your favorite music, or read one of your preferred blogs. When you make progress in an important project, play with your animal or child, or talk to a good (supportive) friend. When you do this, you reinforce the hard work you have done with a pleasurable experience.
*Engage in Micro-Successes: One of the best ways to instill a new habit is to start small and build up slowly. You may initially work out initially 15-20 minutes a few days a week—as you get stronger, you can increase your workout time. If you want to write a book, start with writing a few pages per day. If you want to find a love partner or make new friends, decide that you will talk to one interesting person each day. Each micro-success will build upon the next until you have established a flow of momentum and success.
*Surround Yourself With Good Habit Supporters: It is well known that the people around you can influence you—for either good or bad. Instead of being around negative and gossiping people who bring you down emotionally, associate yourself with positive, happy, and successs-focused people who encourage you in developing your new positive habits as you encourage them in theirs.
*Manage Your Energy: All behaviors require energy. Strive to increase the energy it takes for you to do a bad habit (move the remote to another room if you want to cut down on binge TV watching). At the same time, decrease the energy it takes for you to do good habits—put a book next to you in the living room if you want to increase your reading habit.
*Allow Your Self to Go Back: There may be times when you revert back to your old bad habits (cheating on a diet, procrastinating, associating with the wrong people, abusing a substance). When that happens, tell yourself that you will momentarily allow yourself to go back—you won’t condemn or judge yourself—you will simply see it is a temporary setback. You realize the truth: If you take one step backwards and two steps forward, you are still making progress. Forgive yourself and go back to developing your positive habit.
*Visualize Your Success: See yourself doing the new habit—exercising, being more assertive in social situations, eating healthier; getting things done without procrastination—as well as the positive consequences from the new habit: Feeling and looking great; attracting love and friendship in your life; excelling in your career. The more you see yourself doing the action and reaping the results, the more motivated and perseverant you will be to do the hard work you need to ingrain the positive habit firmly in your mind.
Remember that the good habits you develop can cancel out the bad ones, and move you one step closer to becoming the person you were meant to be: Invincible You—a healthy and happy individual who lives with passion, purpose, and power.
For more on how you can develop positive and productive habits, listen to the podcast: “The Power of Positive Habit: Achieving the Results You Want.”