Truth #1: We are creatures of habit.
Truth #2: Habits are hard to break.
Given these two truths, we can easily conclude that behavioral change is hard because of the habits we have. For our behavior to change, we either need to add something to our routine or take away from it. The hardest — but also easiest, depends on how you look at it — thing to do is to figure out what it really is.
If you’re often in trouble with authorities, have had to deal with an auto accident lawyer several times, or are causing your boss a lot of headaches, then perhaps you need to get rid of a few bad habits and replace them with better ones.
You need to finally take charge and stop making excuses. You are not a victim of your circumstances. You are just a person who tolerated bad habits in your life.
So start taking control of your life again and build better habits. Here are some ways to help make new habits stick.
Start with the small things
Don’t attempt to change your whole life in one day. Set smaller goals to hit and gradually take it to the next level until you get to the point that you’ve completely eliminated and replaced the bad habit.
Surround yourself with reminders
The thing with a resolution is it’s easy to forget and a lot easier to ignore. We need constant reminders about our goals in life because we easily get sidetracked by a lot of stuff.
Commit to doing this every day for the next sixty days
They say it takes 21 days to build a habit. Others say 30. Let’s just take the higher road and go with 60 days on this one. The more days you get to do it regularly, the more it is ingrained into your routine. Once the first 30 days are up, keep going until it becomes second-nature to you.
As in all other things, if you want to be successful at this, you have to stick to it. Consistency is key. It is where the rubber meets the road. Use different cues to help you stay consistent. Time, place, objects, circumstances, anything that will help build some semblance of new normal for you.
Hold yourself accountable to someone.
Along with consistency, accountability matters a lot when you want to change things in your life. This signifies that you are serious in effecting changes that you’re relying on someone to remind, encourage, correct, and even rebuke you in your journey. It may be a friend you trust or a person you look up to. You need all the help and support you can get.
Restructure your environment.
If you’re really serious about making some changes internally, you also need to make some changes externally. Remove anything that will tempt you or make you fall back to your old nasty habits. Replace them with things that will encourage you and spur you on as you take your life back.
Visualize your “successful” self.
Look at the trade-off. Compare your present self (or at least the part of you that you want to change) to the person that you want to be. Imagine what your life would be like if your ideal self became a reality. That should provide enough motivation for you to keep going.
At the end of the day, your circumstances will only change depending on how willing you are to make the changes in your behavior and habits. Ask yourself this, is it worth giving up the things that you’re used to? If your answer is yes, then you need to take drastic measures and get your life back on track.