Some bad habits are so powerful that it’s nearly impossible to overcome them on your own. Addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex and other life-threatening habits may require you to get professional help, as well as the support and assistance of your family and friends.
It’s natural not to want to ask for help. People’s personal pride or even embarrassment often gets in the way. But if your bad habit is so strong that you aren’t going to be able to break it without help, then you need to set your reluctance aside and turn to other people to help you.
Think of it this way: There is no shame in wanting to be a better person. Even though it may seem to you that other people may think less of you if you admit that you have a problem, in reality most people are going to give you credit for trying to do something about it.
Easing into New Habits
With very few exceptions, going cold turkey or trying to break a bad habit immediately is not going to be effective. Because it has taken you so long to develop your bad habit, it’s going to take at least a little time for you to break it.
You can improve your chances of success by easing into your new good habits, rather than going “all in” from the outset. Slowly wean yourself off of your bad habit (but not too slowly!) and introduce your new, good habit until eventually you are completely free of the bad and committed to the good.
For example, if your bad habit is that you drink too much, you may want to start by drinking less and replacing some of the time you spent drinking at bars taking long walks or even joining a gym. As the weeks progress, you can ease off the drinking altogether and replace your negative behavior with positive behavior. In time, it’s possible you will become “addicted” to working out, eating right and living a healthier lifestyle.
Timelines and Milestones
In most case, it takes 21 days or a month to break a bad habit. It’s helpful, although not essential, that you start your Game Plan on the first day of a new month. This simply makes it easier to set up the timelines and milestones you will need to ease yourself into your new positive behavior patterns. If you can’t wait until the start of a new month then at least wait until the beginning of the new week, if possible.
When you are developing your Game Plan, don’t just take it week at a time. In other words, don’t just plan the first week’s goals and see how it goes from there. To improve your chances of success, plan out the entire Game Plan over multiple weeks until you reach your ultimate Power Goal.
When creating your Game Plan, every new week should build on the success of the week before so that by the end of the process you have completely eliminated the bad habit you wanted to break and replaced with a good habit which will improve the quality of your life and push you toward achieving your Vision Statement.
Dealing with Setbacks
Know ahead of time that you are going to experience setbacks. The trick is not to let failure derail the entire process.
One of the benefits of having a Game Plan is that if you fail to reach a particular week’s goals, you don’t have to start over from the beginning. You can just restart that particular week and move everything up a week. All the other progress you already have made can be salvaged.
If you experience a setback, don’t just gloss over it and bull through you Game Plan. It happened for a reason. Maybe you were moving too fast or didn’t realize how much time you needed to achieve a particular step in your journey. Go back and repeat the step until you get it right. Only then should you move on to the next step.
It’s critical that you not let your setbacks cause you to fall back into negative thinking. Mistakes are going to be made. We are all only human. Accept that you are fallible and move on. But don’t dwell on the fact that you have failed or think of yourself as a failure.
The very fact that you are trying to make your life better means that you are the opposite of a failure. Even if you don’t succeed all the time – and you won’t — you can still be successful. Even Joe DiMaggio failed to get a hit more than 60% of the time.
The most important thing is to stay positive and to just keep trying. As long as you are making the effort to get better, you are a winner.
Have you ever tried brain entrainment methods to work on your habits?
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