How To Break Bad Habits (1 of 2)

I’ve written about change before and in particular how changing habits is so difficult for most.

The stats back that up too, with 95% of people starting a health, fitness or wellbeing programme failing to maintain any meaningful change beyond the 12 month mark. Most don’t even make it that far.

We can look at the emotional nature of why that might be but there are also some more logical approaches that might help you make the difference.

In its simplest form, change is difficult because you develop a path of least resistance to an area of your life and then, unless you have certain elements in place, the nervous system is designed to preference those paths of least resistance.

The other avenue to change, which is a lot less common, is those that force it come hell or high water.

This is an incredibly stressful way to bring about change and one fostered by slogans on social and traditional media, beliefs about yourself, or programming from family or even religion.

Then there is the element of self-esteem, unfortunately severely lacking in many. Another phrase for self-esteem could be, self-will. That is your ability to convert “desire” into reality through the conversation of that energy within your being.

Interestingly, the area of the body that relates to self-will energetically is the abdomen. So if the abdomen and the digestive system are sub-optimal we can also say that there is an imbalance with the area of the psyche related to self-will.

The body reflects the mind and mind is reflected in the body. You don’t have a body and a mind, you have a body-mind.

So what has all this got to do with changing habits?

It means that if you are to change habits to ideas and actions that are more empowering for you, you need to be healthy in the first place to make those changes effectively.

If your goal is upgrades to your health and wellbeing because it’s below where you would like, you then have a harder time.

Change will typically come in four phases:

  • Awareness
  • Commitment
  • Countering/Environment/Reward/Relationships
  • Maintenance

Awareness

In this phase we are building a picture of what might need to change in our lives. It could be that someone has given you some news about an aspect of your health (doctor, therapist, coach). You may have read an article about a better way of doing things or you’ve observed someone else doing things in a way that you would like to adopt (on social media, for example).

This stage is all about moving from the unknown to the known.

Commitment

The awareness phase can last a lifetime! There are many people that become aware of the need for change of an aspect of their health, for example, but never do anything about it.

For example: someone who knows that their back is hurting because a lack of exercise or adherence to their programme is a problem. Or that their weight is an issue due to the way they live yet they choose to do nothing about it.

Someone much wiser than me once said, “When the desire for change is greater than the resistance to change, change happens.”

This is very true, and unless you have a burning desire to make changes, it is likely just a wish that won’t come true. If you were to grade this on a scale of 1-10, it’s fairly safe to say that unless you are at an 8/10 or higher change will likely be a painful and fruitless experience.

If the awareness phase is leading the horse to the water, the commitment phase is the horse choosing, of its on accord, to drink.

So the commitment phase can be summed up really by CHOICE.

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Thanks for reading part one of this two part series. I’ll be back next week with the second instalment.