Congratulations! The hardest part is over. Increasing your self-awareness to the point where you realize that you have to make a change is the hardest part of the self-improvement process. Unlike 99.99% of people with bad habits, you are now able to admit you have a problem and accept full responsibility for dealing with it.
The last post was the most difficult part of the change process. It’s natural for people not to want to admit weakness or to deny they have a problem that needs to be addressed. Yet making this breakthrough is an essential part of the recovery process. And you have made it!
In this section, we are now going to turn our attention to creating an environment of positivity that is going to give you the strength and support you need to nurture yourself to a new, health and life-affirming habit.
The Benefit of Good Habits
You may recall that about 95% of the things we do every day are out of habit. When you can eliminate bad habits and replace them with good ones, positive things will start to happen to you automatically.
Legendary motivational speaker Earl Nightingale once said that if you are willing to devote just one hour per day to studying within your field, you can get to a leadership position within your chosen profession in just three years. One hour per day of study will make you a national authority in five years. And within seven years, you can be one of the most recognized experts in the world.
Reading an hour per day in your field translates to about one book per week. So you can see that something as simple as developing a positive habit like reading an hour per day can not only bring positivity, but can actually transform your life.
Like a commercial airliner that has all of the significant flight information programmed into its onboard computer so that it can fly on automatic pilot, the good habits we develop are the “mental software” that will allow us to reach our ultimate objectives without even having to think about it.
Step 1: Discovering Your Purpose
Developing self-awareness allowed you to become more familiar with your current bad habits and connect them with the consequences that are holding you back from achieving your ultimate objectives.
The next step is to create goals for yourself that will help you move away from bad habits and move toward the kind of life you truly want for yourself. Goal setting is most effective if you first have a positive vision and purpose for your life. This will allow you to stay inspired to work on “smaller” goals and habits that build up to your overall objective.
The beginning point is to discover your purpose. To do so, ask yourself these questions:
- Who am I?
- Why am I here?
- What do I want to accomplish with my life?
- What would make me feel most fulfilled?
- What do I value more than anything?
- Do I believe in God, a higher power, or the will of the universe?
- How does this affect the choices I make?
Step 2: Creating Your Vision Statement
Think about the answers you came up with. Write them down somewhere and try to organize them so that there is some sort of order or pattern. This is how you define your belief system, which is the overriding purpose behind your life.
If you can’t see the pattern right away, try reflecting on these additional questions:
- How would I choose to live if I could do anything in the world?
- If you never had to worry about money again, how would you spend your days and night?
- At the end of your life, what will you point to as your most important accomplishment?
- What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?
Are you starting to see it now? What you are discovering is your vision of how you want your life to be. The next step is to arrange that vision into a single sentence or paragraph – called a Vision Statement — that defines what you want out of life.
Here are a few examples of vision statements that others have come up with from the website Tita Eda:
“I am a housewife and also working, I want to balance my family and professional life – both. I want to become a successful human being. I want to improve my personality, and also the growth of the company and myself. I want to earn money to make my family and society happy.”
“My personal vision is to use myself as an example to impact positive attitudes and share my can do and never die attitude with whoever comes crosses my path in life. I wish that I can inspire and motivate them to discover and develop their potential and live life to fullness. In order for this vision to be fulfilled, I need to get a career first so that I can help more by helping thyself first.”
“I myself want to be a true leader and help all the people who come to me. I want to complete my PHD program in human resources. I want to be a motivational leader and provide training programs to the corporate world. I love to be a truthful, family loving person and want to visit across the world and enjoy life.”
What does your Vision Statement look like?
Step 3: Building Your Power Goals
Your Vision Statement is where you want to go. Your Power Goals are how you plan to get there.
To develop these Power Goals, let’s return for a moment to the bad habit that you identified that you want to break. Think about how this bad habit affects you in each of these areas of your life: Health Relationships, Money/Finances Work/Career, Personal Development, Friends/Social Life, Family Life, Spiritual.
Not every bad habit will have an impact on every aspect of your life, but you may be surprised on how deeply damaging your bad habits can be.
To develop your Power Goals, simply complete the connection between how breaking your bad habit will cause an improvement in each particular area that you have identified.
For example, let’s assume the bad habit you want to break is that you are addicted to gambling:
Health: Your addiction to gambling causes you to lose sight of what’s important in life, become anti-social, become financial unstable and most likely end up in debt.
Power Goal: When you break the bad habit of gambling, you will become more positive in life, create positive goals and stop wasting money (in the end the house always wins).
Relationships: Gambling takes a toll on your relationships and financial situation.
Power Goal: Once you are done with gambling, you will work to reconnect with your friends, family, partner and improve your financial situation.
Continue with this exercise with each category right down the line. If there is no direct correlation between your bad habit and a particular area of your life, just skip it and go to the next one.
Why Goals are Essential for Happiness
When you compile a list of Power Goals, they will provide the structure upon which you will build your Game Plan for achieving your vision statement. Once this journey has been broken down into smaller, achievable steps, you will be able to not only break your bad habit, but essentially live your life on autopilot.
As long as you follow your plan consistently and habitually, your long-term success is virtually assured. Of course, things can still go wrong and life will continue to throw the occasional curve ball at you. But because you have been able to break a bad habit and replace it with a good one — and repeat the process over and over again until all of your bad habits are in your past – you will have the strength and personal determination to overcome any setback.
Researching Your Path
When it comes to achieving your Power Goals, knowledge is power. The more information you have about your objective, and about how other people have achieved it, the more tools you will have at your disposal when it comes time to act on your goals.
Spend time on the Internet researching everything you can about your goals. Look especially for blogs and forums that are related to your key bad habit. Given the size and scope of the web, there will absolutely be many sites that are specifically devoted to any particular problem. You are sure to find a wealth of information and inspiring personal stories that will help motivate you.