How many times have you thought about changing a habit of yours without doing anything about it?
How about getting started, but then finding yourself totally failing and forgetting that you had even begun a new regime in the first place?
Too many times to count?
Why is it so hard to create life-long transformation of healthy changes?
Well, there’s actually research in habit-formation and breaking “bad” habits and we thought we’d discuss some of that with you today.
So you can stop feeling guilty if you haven’t kicked that pesky habit yet AND to help you take the next step toward a healthier, happier, more-in-integrity you.
The key to progressing in life is being painfully, brutally honest with yourself.
“I’m not willing to change.”
“I’m not ready yet.”
“I know I shouldn’t do this.”
“I need help.”
These phrases demonstrate a mentality of total honesty. From here – you can take the next step in your change process – if you choose.
Without acknowledging the real hardcore truth, you risk being in illusion.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
– John 8:32
Now, being honest about your struggle with an unwanted habit isn’t the end of the journey, it’s just the beginning.
In order to skillfully progress down the path, you’ll also need to recognize which stage of change you’re in.
Doctors of psychology, James Prochaska, John Norcross, and Carlo Declemente studied more than 1,000 people who were permanently able to alter their lives, and they present their findings in the book, Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward.
They discovered and outlined the six stages of change, knowledge of which is incredibly empowering.
The six stages of change are:
- Pre-contemplation – when you’re resisting change and not willing to think about it yet
- Contemplation – when change appears to be on the horizon
- Preparation – when you’ve committed and you’re getting ready to implement change
- Action – when it’s time to move
- Maintenance – when you’re managing long-term habit change
- Termination – when you exit the cycle of change
Understanding your stage means you can apply appropriate practices to maintain growth, without totally and utterly giving up.
(And by the way – you’re worth it!)
Here are a few tips to help you change that habit (or those habits 😉 ).
Constantly strive to raise your consciousness. This means increasing your knowledge about yourself and the problem habit. Why? To keep your mind sharp while you navigate the rough waters ahead.
Use your social life for you, not against you. By increasing social alternatives, you keep a connection to people who are living more like how you want to live, and this decreases your temptation and desire to do the unwanted habits.
Get therapeutic or emotional support. You can assess your feelings and thoughts about yourself, your change process, and your habits more effectively with support than without it. Enlisting the support of others also helps you be steady on the path instead of swinging to extremes of restricting and binging.
Make commitments. It goes without saying that by choosing to act and believe in your ability to change, you have better chances of getting the result you desire. Use commitment as a weapon in your battle!
Implement healthy substitutes. You can substitute a healthy behavior for an unhealthy one, i.e. drinking a smoothie instead of smoking a cigarette. It’s really that simple and gets you through those first few days, weeks, and months of restricting yourself from something you previously enjoyed.
Create a reward system for yourself. You can create contracts, agreements, or reward plans with yourself or others for acting in a positive way toward your goal. This kind of makes change fun…
If you’ve been struggling to implement a change in your lifestyle – breaking bad habits and creating new healthy ones – you’re not alone.
Your story is unique, but you’re human. There’s something universal about the battle between the lower and higher self.
Trust in the wisdom of being immersed in the truth – whatever it may be.
Access your truth, get support, and don’t give up. You are literally 1 in 7.7 billion humans on this planet also struggling to stretch into a better version of yourself.
Change is challenging.
But it’s possible. And worth it.