Make it Easier to Change those Habits

By: Lynn Cutts

1. No focus. Instead of concentrating on one behavior, and working with it until it sticks, many people try to make too big a change all at once. For example, they decide they are going to go on a diet, start exercising and give up smoking all at the same time. Trying to do all that becomes overwhelming, exhausting, and confusing. It’s an almost guaranteed road to failure. Instead, focus only on your top priority – say, losing weight. You can get to the other changes later when you’ve got the first one down.

2. No vision. People don’t have a clear vision of the benefits changing this habit will bring them. By not seeing what they are moving towards, it’s impossible to get - and stay - motivated. Before you get started, write down what you want to change, and why. Spend some time seeing yourself after you’ve successfully made that change. Picture yourself twenty-five pounds lighter. What are you wearing? Where are you going? You’ll be a lot more motivated.

3. No goal. Without a well thought out, specific, measurable goal with a time limit on it, people flounder. “I want to lose weight," doesn’t have one-tenth the power of, “I want to lose twenty-five pounds by Thanksgiving." So create a written goal with specifics - and a deadline.

That way, you know what you have to do every day to reach it. It’s a lot easier to work with specifics than generalities.

4. No commitment. Often, people think they should change a behavior, or are told that they should, but deep down inside, they don’t want to. So they try to make that change, only to give up after a week or two. Then they feel bad about themselves, figure they’re failures, and give up. The problem lies not in them, but in the lack of commitment. You’ll never succeed in losing those twenty-five pounds if you’re not truly committed. If you’re not sure that you really want to change a habit, work on your motivation and commitment first! Because without those two, you won’t succeed.

5. No plan. Without a plan, people don’t know what actions they need to take in order to change a habit. And without defined actions, it’s too easy to slip into the default mode – the old behavior. Knowing that you are going to lose those twenty-five pounds by cutting out all snacking in the evening (your personal downfall) tells you exactly what you are going to do.

6. No support. People often try to “go it alone" when they’re trying to change a habit. That only makes it nineteen times harder. Having someone who will cajole, cheer, nag and sympathize along the way helps you stick to your guns. A support buddy reminds you why you’re doing this, celebrates your successes, and keeps you pointed in the right direction. A support buddy will be there to talk you out of eating the entire bag of potato chips at 8:30 in the evening, no matter how loud those potato chips are calling.

So there you are, ready to change a habit without struggling. It will still take hard work and self-discipline, but it will be a lot easier to do that hard work and discipline if you avoid those six mistakes.

NOTE: You are welcome to use this article online in electronic newsletters and e-zines as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the "about the author" info). If use of this article is desired in print, you must first contact Lynn Cutts at .

Copyright 2005 Lynn Cutts

Motivation
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