I recently wrote about how long it takes to break a habit (https://www.jtethos.com/how-to-break-a-habit-part-one/) and as a follow on to that, asking how easy it is to break a habit seems a logical next question.
I’m talking about bad habits that can wreck your health.
It may not be easy to change a habit on your own.
Accountability plays a huge part in successful change – it is one of the main reasons things like weight watchers can work.
The good news is, seeking support can make a huge difference – either from close friends and family or from experts who can guide you.
It is inevitably easier with professional support as you not only get the support but also the awareness of the potential pitfalls and the dislocation from the emotional gains that helps maintain perspective through the whole journey.
Will-power is hugely valuable – but almost always hugely over used. Think of it as a little pot of liquid gold that can be brought out now and again to help you on your way.
But the key to unlocking any change is knowing, and I mean really knowing, your ‘why’.
‘Why’ we can change
Humans are interesting creatures.
We’re the only species with a conscience and guilt. Our judgement is often clouded by what we think we should do or what we should want.
Yet *should* has no part in driving real change.
The more emotional, the more visceral and reaction the more successful it will be.
We will only ever change for one of two reasons:
To move away from pain
To move towards pleasure.
To break any habit there needs to be enough pain or a big enough pleasure to create movement.
The pain of changing MUST be less than the pain currently being experienced.
The pleasure gained from the achievement MUST be greater than the pain currently being experienced
The pain of change MUST be less than the pleasure of success
And that pain or pleasure needs to be greater than the pain or pleasure of staying where they are.
So as you can see, this is about much more than will-power.
Habits are created because we like or gain from them. There can also be a secondary gain – if someone gets attention for something they will often be less inclined to change it because they will lose the attention or love.
Social media amplifies this hugely. This is why you must have your WHY. Keep asking yourself: Why do you want to change something? You will probably need to ask the question up to 10 times before you get close to a really powerful answer.
Try this, answer one of these questions: Why do I want to:
Earn more money?
Then, having thought of that answer, ask yourself why, and write down the answer
Then ask why to that answer…………and write down the answer
Repeat this up to eight more times – yes really!
You’re not allowed to repeat the answer to a previous why and each answer must take you further towards a more personal reason to change.
I’ll give you a hint – the closer you get to admitting that you either don’t like yourself as you are or you are not the person you want to be, or you want more from yourself or you want to be a better person, a better husband, wife, mother or daughter – then the greater your chances of success will be.
The best answer I’ve ever had was from a mum of two teenage daughters who wanted to lose weight healthily and keep it off and be more active.
Her why, once she kept asking herself and getting to the real answer was:
“Because she wanted to show her daughters how to be a healthy, active vibrant women in the 21st Century!”
She never let a morsel of cake past her lips after that!
You can see how powerful this lady’s why was – now are you feeling honest enough to find your own?
Don’t wait any longer – give yourself the best chance and go for it – you’ll be so glad you did!
Look out for a third blog post in our series on breaking habits where we will explain how our support can make all the difference.