Changing Bad Habits, One Step at a Time
If bad habits are tripping you up at this time in your life, then there’s no time like the present to make a shift. The only way to grow is by developing different habits, so the more intentional you are about creating them, the easier it is to grow. Habits are simply repetitive actions, so deciding to shift is a matter of taking a different action.
We might already know what our “bad habits” are, and we may need a little help from others in our circle to figure out our blind spots. When seeking to source all the habits that might be holding us back, it’s important to use this part of the process as an affirmation, not as a castigation. Bad habits may have served you by allowing you to cope with life circumstances. As you list out things you are ready to shift, remind yourself that a bad habit is only something that’s not working, and not a judgement of your character or your potential.
Here are some questions to get you started looking for things that might need a little shift:
· What isn’t working for you right now?
· What actions have you taken that keep that thing “not working”?
· Is there an action or habit that others have noticed might not be serving you?
2. Express Gratitude
The habits you’ve developed over time are there for a reason. For each habit you’ve identified above that’s not serving you now, take a good look at how it helped you cope with whatever circumstances you previously experienced (or are still experiencing) and see where you can thank that habit before you gently undertake the process of shifting it. Here are some questions to help you express gratitude:
· Which life circumstance or event did this habit help me navigate?
· What about this habit was useful to me?
· What can I thank this habit for doing for me?
3. Plan for Action
Now that you’ve identified and thanked those habits for what they’ve done for you in the past, it’s time to flip them so you can move forward with different actions. Here are a few ways to gently shift those habits into a more productive, effective direction:
· What one habit would I like to focus on to begin this process?
· What triggers me to take this repeated action and what one action might I change in the process to shift its direction?
· Can I turn this action inside out and replace it with a positive action?
· What past success in shifting a habit can I use to model the shift I want to make now?
· What support might I need to help me shift this habit?
Remember, you’re not a bad person because you may have some habits that aren’t working. You’re a human being with unique habits that have helped you cope with life and you have the capacity to change.
What habit will you shift this year? Let us know in the comments below.