All the information and resources you will need to finally start taking control of your habits – good or bad – and stop letting them control your life
We all know about the power of habits, but a lot of us underestimate how much of our lives they control – have you ever all of a sudden caught yourself daydreaming only to realise you've been driving for the last 40 minutes on auto-pilot? Or you realise that you've only gone and ended up on Facebook again and have been scrolling through the piles of mind-numbing garbage while your meant to be working on that important assignment?
If you answered yes to either questions or the examples instantly reminded you of a familiar example – then you can join the club with me. Our habits and routines control the outcome of our life, so carrying on procrastinating ever getting in control of your habits is a choice that won't harm you too much in the present moment – but similar to smoking, being hooked on Facebook and eating naughty foods to often – it catches up with you down the lane and can even put you in an early grave.
How a habit works
Firstly, to get in charge of your habits, you must understand how they work so here is a basic overview of the cycle of habits.
Reminder – Your phone goes off
Routine – You check your phone
Reward – You see what the text/facebook message says
Reminder – You start to crave cigarette
Routine – You smoke a cigarette
Reward – Your cravings have been fulfilled
Each time the cycle is repeated, the habit becomes stronger and eventually, once the cycle is repeated enough times, it becomes part of your identity and this is when you will hear people say ''I'm a smoker'' and once it gets to this point – the habit is armour plated and nearly impossible to break. But don't get down, there is still hope, all you have to do is break the cycle and replace the negative parts with an empowering alternative and repeat this cycle until it's stronger than the negative ones. As an ex-smoker, when I smell someone smoking a cigarette it makes my stomach turn whereas before, this would have been the reminder I needed to trigger my cravings for smoking but now I see myself as 'healthy' person and smoking cigarettes just isn't something that a 'healthy' person does.
Take a look at a bad habit in your life that you want to break and try and recognise what what is your reminder, routine and reward and see if you can start replacing the negative for an empowering alternative and remember, the first few times may be difficult but it gets easier with time. So stick with it.
Start of small and build up
When trying to implement new habits, be careful of falling into the trap of trying to do everything all in 1 go as you are setting yourself up for failure. Motivation levels are super high when you first start but they soon start to drop when you alarm goes off 2 hours earlier than normal or when you 2 weeks into your diet and the donuts are brought out at work but if you use the techniques mentioned here or even try our FREE HABIT WORKBOOK, then you will stand much more of a chance than if you just go into the challenge blindly. How many people do you know who have got all the talk and motivation for what they're planning but as soon as the curtains are drawn and it's time to put in some work, they give up? I'm guessing you know 1 or 2 people like this. Don't be that person. Arm yourself with a plan and stick by it. You wouldn't start a business without knowing how you're going to succeed...would you?
As mentioned earlier on in this post, a lot of the habits you have are to do with your self image and who you believe you are as a person. If you see yourself as a healthy person, you will pride yourself on living in a healthy manner and you will have a lot less friction to saying no to unhealthy things than a person who just views their bad eating and exercising habits as 'Just who I am.'
This is a very dangerous trap to fall into, because if you're self esteem and self image are bad, then a lot of your daily decisions will be affected because of this.
One of the reasons starting off small makes it much easier is that it makes starting and sticking to the habit much more achievable – if you start off eating an extra portion of vegetables & going on a 5 minute walk each day, then you should have much less trouble keeping at it as oppose to all of a sudden being Vegan only and Running a marathon before work everyday, Once you begin to form this habit, even at a basic level, you give your brain the evidence to say ''Look, you are a healthy person'' whereas if you try to start of big, you may succeed at first but then when your limited willpower begins to fade and you give up, your brain says ''See, I told you that you aren't a healthy person and I told you that you were going to fail'' and your self esteem takes a massive knock.
Whereas if you take the 'start small' route, you build it gradually and build up a backlog of small wins, gradually adding more difficulty and before you know it, you've been adding the occasional vegetable in and walking for 30 more seconds each day and you feel healthier, look better and you have evidence to say that you're healthy and if you keep making the gradual improvements, imagine where could you be in a year, 2 years or even 5 years down the line. Small habits reap massive results when repeated over and over.
If you want a super easy way of creating habits, use a technique called 'habit stacking' to use already formed habits to get leverage over the situation. A simple example of this would be if I wanted to start being more grateful. I could take the existing habit I (and hopefully you) already have of brushing my teeth and every time I perform this habit, I will consciously choose to think of 3 things i'm grateful for and really feel happy about these things. As you are linking it to an already formed habit, the resistance of the habit is pretty much 0 and you will find it surprisingly easy to start stacking habits left, right and centre. A quick exercise for this is to make 2 columns, on 1 side write down all the habits you want to start implementing and then on the other side write down a list of habits you already do daily/regularly. Once you have done this, try and link up habits from both sides and be creative with it. Where in your own life right now have you been putting of starting a new habit?
Best 3 habits to start
Exercise – I don't want to go on about it too much as you've probably heard it a million times – but regular exercise has a list of benefits as long as my arm and you would be crazy to ignore this. Exercise doesn't have to be boring, grab a football, go to the gym, play tennis with a friend...USE YOUR IMAGINATION.
Meditation – Meditation is becoming more and more popular and the stigma of it being something only monks and hippies do is dying by the day. Meditation increases your willpower, makes you more mindful and increases your awareness and happiness levels throughout your day. If there was a 'magic pill' for self improvement – it would be meditation.
Gratitude – Gratitude absolutely changed my life once I started practicing it regularly and I would suggest you do the same. Be happier about your life and much more benefits – check out our more in-depth article about Gratitude HERE.
3 habits you should eliminate straight away
Negative self talk – I always thought this was normal...but it isn't! Don't talk to yourself like you're a piece of dirt. Next time you catch yourself talking to yourself badly. Ask yourself 'Would I speak to my friend/partner like this? Believe in yourself, be nice to yourself. After all, you're the only person who is there 24/7 no matter what.
Social Media Addiction – Don't get this point twisted, we love the occasional scroll through Facebook as well as the occasional Instagram binge but don't become reliant on it. A good warning sign is that you're on social media before bed and you're reaching for it within 10 minutes of waking up. There is a real world out there waiting for you.
Smoking cigarettes – If you're still smoking, put a plan in action TODAY to kick the habit. It has 0 benefits, it's bad for your health, it costs a fortune and you set a bad example for anyone looking up to you? Got kids? Now picture them smoking and realise that your actions influence them massively so be a positive role model. There is already enough bad role models in the world.
The power one change can have, repeated over and over again
One habit that is repeated over and over, day after day has a massive control on the outcome of your life, so make sure your compounding empowering results instead of bank draining, health ruining results. It's upto you.
We hope this has been eye opening for you and has inspired you to make a change. If so, why not download our FREE HABIT WORKBOOK and start making real progress towards your goal.
Where in your own life could you make a simple change that could affect your life in the long term? What habits do you currently have that you could use to stack some positivity into your life?
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