Atomic Habits: 6 Ways To Make Positive Change In 2020
So you want to make a New Year’s resolution? Well some habits are easier to change than others. It's easier to change a simple habit compared to a complex habit. This is because a complex habit is motivated or sustained by an intense emotion, that stems from an underlying belief or value about ourselves.
Over-eating is an example of a “complex habit” – one that is emotionally linked. You feel tired, bored, upset…and you start eating. (This could also be true of smoking or nail-biting as other examples.) The eating is not about a desire to feed the body, or even because it is enjoyable. When we habitually over-eat, the act of eating occurs as a mechanism to minimize the unpleasant feelings being experienced. In a way, it becomes a drug of choice in order to feel better.
Be absolutely committed to your success – no excuses. An excuse is a lie to your ultimate success. Be positive and relentless in achieving your goals.
Visualize yourself, step-by-step, overcoming every likely roadblock to your success. Plan as to how you will deal with roadblocks and difficulties that may arise. (Grab our Guided Visualization course here)
Plan for what you will be doing one day in advance… then make it happen. Only YOU can. If you give in to temptation, immediately get back on track… NOW. As Nike says “Just do it!”
If you are trying to make a change but find yourself continually backsliding, look at which emotions are occurring at the time of the backsliding and you will find your culprit. Minimize the intensity, duration and frequency of the associated distressing emotion and making the desired change will become easier. (Learn how to Manage and Control Your Emotions here)
Remember that when you are feeling happier, stronger and more in control, making a change becomes easier.
Here are 6 tips for how to make changing your habits easier:
1. Be 100 % committed to making the change. No exceptions. You will succeed! Magic seems to occur when there is commitment and persistence.
2. Make changes in your lifestyle that support the change you wish to make (e.g. Don’t buy junk food to bring home if you want to lose weight; park at the far end of the lot to increase your walking).
3. Focus on the benefits. E.g. Quitting smoking (save money, feel healthier, sleep better, longer life, smell better). Also think of the hassles of the habit you wish to change (e.g. For smoking, the cost, mess, smell, social rejection, illness). This can be applied to any habit.
4. Visualize yourself as someone who has already made the change. Speak to yourself and others in the same way. E.g. If you want to quit smoking, don't say to yourself and others "I'm trying to quick smoking." Say this instead: "I'm a non-smoker." You'll begin to internalize the belief and act like a non-smoker (i.e... not smoking). It's called "Acting As If" in Psychology, and it's the essence of the 1st of the prompted nightly entries in The Kindness Journal (Grab our best-selling Journal for creating positive change and feeling happier here).
5. Make the changes you want to make personal. They should be about you and the person you wish to become. Make them reflect your values. Enlist others to support you, to cheer you on in tough times. More than anything, be your own best cheerleader and coach.
6. Start today. Confucius said, “A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step.” Take small steps. Then praise and reward yourself for each step along the way. Celebrate each small success until complete success is obtained. If you get frustrated or blocked along the way, find a solution – and keep moving forward. Don't give up. You got this!
"We first make our habits. Then our habits make us."
- John Dryden
New Year, New Decade! Same You. Only Better.
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