How difficult it is to develop new habits! Every day we must overcome ourselves and fight with our desires. If it does not work, we get frustrated and blame ourselves in the absence of willpower and determination. In fact, the wrong strategy should be blamed. Learn about 10 serious mistakes that prevented you from changing your habits!
By avoiding these mistakes, you speed up the formation of good habits and give them a confident start in your life.
1. Relying only on willpower
Many people plan major changes in life in the period of inspiration, relying only on their willpower. For example, you promise yourself to eat more healthy food, do exercises every day and walk more.
But will power is a finite resource, and the more you use it, the less remains. Finally, after two days of eating healthy food, exercising in the gym and walking for an hour a day, you lose your determination, buy a ready-made dinner, and watch a TV series instead of walking.
Instead of relying on your willpower in everything, begin to develop small good habits.
2. Making large steps instead of small ones
We think that only great achievements matter, so it may seem that setting small goals makes no sense. Walking for two hours a day – one can be proud of this habit, whereas a 15-minute walk is not an achievement at all.
Having a complete workout in the gym three times a week instead of half-hour trainings with dumbbells at home. Only healthy food instead of choosing the normal diet with more fruits and vegetables.
However, experience shows that achieving big goals lasts for two or three days, and then everything returns to its usual state.
3. Ignoring the influence of the environment
It is silly to rely on willpower and ignore the effect of the things that surround us. For example, if you want to get a habit of eating healthy food, get rid of delicious junk food in the refrigerator.
Do not just hope that you have enough motivation to take an apple instead of a donut. Just get rid of donuts and increase your chances greatly. Besides, serve your food in small plates: this trick also helps to eat less.
In order not to get stuck in social networks, remove the social networks application from your smartphone; if you want to quit smoking, try not to drink alcohol in the company of smokers for some time, otherwise the chance of smoking again will increase greatly.
Change the environment, and your behavior will change.
Whatever habits you may want to start, determine what in your environment prevents you from doing this and what can help. Do not neglect any opportunity to help your willpower with some material changes.
4. Getting rid of old habits rather than developing new ones
Bad habits are hard enough to overcome, so it is much better to develop a new positive habit than to get rid of an old negative one.
For example, Dr. Robert Maurer told in his book how he had helped his patient to quit smoking. Every time she felt the craving for cigarettes, the doctor asked her to send him a voice message. As a result, the woman realized the main reason for her smoking and overcame her addiction.
So you can replace your bad habits with good ones. For example, instead of smoking a cigarette you can get used to breathing exercises or short workouts.
5. Linking your failure to the lack of motivation
Motivation is like a good mood – sometimes you have it, and sometimes you do not. It is not necessary to rely on motivation – you’ll be disappointed. Of course you can cheer yourself up with motivational books and videos every day, but the day will come when nothing will help increase your motivation.
Instead of raising the motivation, which is usually enough for just one time, you need to make sure that you do not need motivation at all. Make the action so simple that you will just be unable to give it up.
For example, if the goal is to run one lap around the stadium or to eat two apples a day – you just cannot come up with an excuse.
6. Failing to understand the power of incentives
There is the same neurological scheme at the heart of every habit: the brain reacts to a stimulus and you automatically perform some action.
No habit can exist without the stimulus, and if you want to get rid of a bad habit, you need to find and eliminate the incentive that causes it. To be more precise, you should create other incentives that will develop good habits rather than remove the old stimuli.
For example, smoking is often stimulated by taking alcohol. You can substitute a bottle of beer in the evening for a bicycle ride with a music player or some kind of an interesting hobby, which cannot be combined with smoking.
7. Believing that information leads to action
Real power is in knowledge and action rather than in knowledge alone. The idea itself can be of no benefit, but its realization brings certain benefits.
For example, you have read this article and decided to start to gradually change your habits. But if you do nothing, this information will prove useless for you.
If you read the tips, try to apply them. Less rationality and more emotions – let the change turn into a synonym of pleasure, and let the absence of change remind of pain.
8. Focusing on abstract goals rather than behaving in a specific way
You have read a book or visited a workshop and are full of motivation and energy to “start a business”, “lose weight”, or “make more money.”
Yes, you have wonderful goals and the belief that everything will be attained, but there is no specific and clear plan. So create it!
If you have a desire, keep it in mind, but be sure to locate in the foreground specific steps that will approximate your goal.
9. Striving to change your behavior forever rather than for a short period of time
Pondering about changes in your life and putting them into practice, it is not necessary to remember the past and to think far into the future.
Concentrate on what is happening now, what you can do today. One step at a time.
The word “forever” does not give any motivation. A fixed period of time, which can be calculated, is much better. “I have not been smoking for seven days,” “I have been walking every day in the evening for seven months”, “I have been jogging every morning for seven years.”
You are more likely to keep developing your new healthy habit after such a sequence of days: “I have been practicing my new habit for two weeks, so will I give up now? No!”
10. Thinking that it is difficult to change
It is much easier to admit that you lack willpower or come up with some other justifications rather than change something in your life.
But when you have the basis for changes (for example, small healthy habits), you will not be able to justify yourself.
Decide what you want to change right now. Select one good habit and start to develop it.
Make a small step towards its implementation today. Think about your environment – what can help you make this step easier? – achieve the result and celebrate it.