You have developed self-awareness so that you recognize your bad habits, made a personal commitment to replace them with good habits, developed a Vision Statement to guide you to where you want to go, and created Power Goals that will take you there.
The next step is to create a Game Plan that will break your journey down into achievable steps. In my opinion, this is the most enjoyable part of breaking bad habits and replacing them with good ones because you get to build the structure you will use over the course of the next several days or months to turn your goals into reality.
Drawing Up Your Game Plan
Your Game Plan is an action plan, just like generals draw up when planning to lead their armies into combat or captains of industry use to plan an expansion or to increase profits.
It is going to be a real, tangible plan that includes measurements that can be observed, built-in rewards to motivate you to reach both short- and long- term objectives, and has a concluding achievement: Living your Vision Statement every day so that you can be happy and productive.
It begins with your Power Goals. Pull these out and consider how long it will realistically take for you to achieve each of them. Don’t be overly indulgent. Your Game Plan should challenge you to reach your objectives as quickly as you can. The more time you allow yourself to persist with your bad habit, the harder it will be to break.
Let’s look at an example of what a Game Plan might look like. Assume the bad habit you want to break is that you gamble too much and that you currently go to the casino every Friday and Saturday night, buy lottery tickets daily, go to the racetrack every Sunday and bet on sports several times per week. That’s a lot of gambling!
When identifying your Power Goals, the “Family” goal you set was:
Family – My addiction to gambling means I spend little time with my spouse and children. I also spend a large percentage of my income on my gambling, to the extent that there is often not enough to buy groceries or pay my children’s tuition.
Power Goal – Stop gambling so that I can be home more and be supportive of my family both emotionally and financially.
In this instance, quitting cold turkey may not have a high percentage of success. You may have tried to quit numerous times before, but always receded back into your bad habit.
Instead, your Power Goal can be broken down into a series of steps that are achievable and come with a built-in reward structure:
- By the end of Week 1, I will cut up my membership card to the casino’s VIP club, stop betting on sports, and only buy one lottery ticket per week. At the end of the week, with the money I save I will take my family out to dinner at a restaurant.
- By the end of Week 2, I will end my Sunday “tradition” of going to the track and will limit my visits to the casino to one night per week. With the money I save, I will pay my children’s past due tuition.
- By the end of Week 3, I will voluntarily put myself on the casino’s “banned patrons” list and not buy any lottery tickets. This will end my gambling habit. As a reward, I will commit to planning at least one fun family activity each weekend, such as going to the zoo or going camping.
Notice that there is no punishment involved with failing. If you don’t succeed in meeting your commitment for the week, restart the clock and try again until you succeed. As long as you stay committed and focused, eventually you will make your way through your entire Game Plan.
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