As you might already know, the world is changing at a rapid pace. We all need to make some changes to catch up and stay relevant.
That means we have to get rid of some bad habits and form new ones.
My guess is, just like anyone else, you probably tried to break some bad habits in the past. But you were not successful. That can be very frustrating.
You want to improve. You want to get better. But somehow, something is pulling you back. You simply can’t let go of some habits.
Maybe you want to get your body in shape. You want to lose 20 pounds, start a new business, or write a book. But some bad behaviors keep you from getting results.
Now, is there a quick and surefire way to once and for all zap a bad habit? The answer is, no! There’s not.
As you might already know, bad habits are like a comfortable bed in the winter. It’s easy to get in and extremely hard to get out.
That said, the only way to break a bad habit is to install a new and opposite one. The brain hates a vacuum. You cannot get rid of a bad habit and leave the space empty.
Let’s say you are the type of person who improperly interrupts others during a conversation. If you want to correct that behavior, you have to replace it with the opposite.
But here’s the kicker:
Replacing a bad habit with a good one requires lots of repetitions over time.
That’s the part most people don’t fully comprehend. That’s why they get stuck doing the wrong things over and over.
Let me break down what I mean for you.
Too Much Motivation Is Not Always Good
Most of us have big dreams and lofty goals. After all, our natural tendency is to seek expansion.
So, if you have big goals, I want to congratulate you. That’s awesome!
But, those lofty goals and dreams could be what’s preventing you from breaking bad habits and forming new ones.
That doesn’t make sense. Does it? Alright, let me clarify.
Let’s say you feel out of shape. You set a goal to lose 20 pounds. What do you do?
First, you feel a surge of motivation. You immediately join the gym.
The first week, you spend 3 hours per day for five days in the gym. You do the same for the second, and the third week. Then you are exhausted. You are in excruciating pain.
You look at yourself in the mirror, and you don’t notice any difference. The little voice in your head starts saying, “This is too hard?”
You revolt. You quit.
What’s the matter? What happens?
Stop Fighting Yourself
Too much motivation to do too much too fast will create a tug of war within you.
Have you ever heard that too much of anything could be dangerous? In French, they say, “l’exces en tout nuit.”
The translation is, excess in everything is bad. When you are too motivated, you tend to overextend yourself. And that triggers discouragement.
I know some people can break bad habits cold turkey. They have the willpower to do so. But, for most of us mortals, it’s not that easy.
Okay, if too much motivation is a problem, how do you break bad habits and form good ones?
As I mentioned before, the best way to break bad habits is to replace them with good ones. Here’s how:
Tiny Adjustments Lead To Permanent Change
You don’t get too excited. You motivate yourself just enough to take a few simple steps daily until they become habits.
You want to create new patterns in your brain.
Motivation will get you going. But, it’s ultimately your incremental and daily habits that create lasting change.
Small doses of motivation are way better than a big surge.
Instead of rushing to the gym and punish yourself, set a goal to walk around the blocks for 30 minutes every day. Set a goal to do 20 pushups every day. Then go to the gym three times a week for one hour.
I’m all for losing 20 poundings. But don’t get too emotional.
If you want to write a book, don’t pound on the keyboard for 8 hours a day for one week. That’s too much motivation.
Set a goal to write 2 hours daily. Focus on writing one chapter per week. As the saying goes, “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life’s hard.”
I used to run half marathons. I discovered a way to push through. I started focusing on the next mile instead of the rest of the race.
I tricked my mind to think I’m running one mile 12 times. That worked like a charm.
The secret to forming good habits is to repeat small changes over and over until they are automatic.
All of us have habits we are not too happy about. The good news is, you have the capacity to zap them for good. The brain is plastic. We can mold it to serve our purpose.
If you don’t like the results you are getting in life, change the bad habits or behaviors. Start implement tiny changes.
Disruptive changes are the results of years of compounding little improvements. They disrupt our lives because we are not paying close attention.
I encourage you to set a goal to start repeating small changes daily until they become unbreakable habits that make you proud. In no time, your new and good behaviors will shock others.
If bad habits were keeping you from getting a promotion or attracting what you want, you now know how to remove those barriers.