I don't know if you are like me, but I have certain habits and ways of doing things that I try and change. I grew up always being late to things and the characteristic or habit of being late is less than desirable and something I have known I needed to change. It sure is tough!

Maybe you are late like me. Maybe you snack on cookies and ice cream at night and want to change that eating habit. Or you love to get fast food and want to change that habit.

Maybe you have a hard time working out frequently or taking the garbage out, etc. Point being, there are lots of things we know we should change in our behaviors, but it isn't easy (at least not using our will power).

You know the habit, but how do you change it?

We read books like "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" or articles on "habits of successful entrepreneurs". We know what habits are good, but why can't we actually gain them? Everyone just tries to use sheer will power to change their habits. News flash: that doesn't work.

I know what habits I need to change and I bet you do, too. The question is HOW do you change them and make them stick.

Will Power vs Change your Brain

There are two ways of going about this. First let me explain the most common yet least effective way: will power.

Example of how this works: You have a meeting and you show up late. You say to yourself "dang it, I am always late. I NEED to make myself show up early next time". This may work temporarily, but will fail in the long run. You reconfirm your personality to yourself as 'someone who is always late that is trying really hard not to be late'. This takes SO much effort. Fail.

The alternative way to change the habit of arriving on time is to self-talk in a way that changes your view of yourself. If you show up late with this approach, you say "wow it is so unlike me to be late like this". This is a game changer. If you tell yourself this EVERY TIME you commit the 'negative habit' you are trying to break, you will re-identify yourself in your brain and the change in behavior will follow.

Example 1

You are about to gorge yourself on cookies and pizza at night. You could say 'ok i'm gonna try really really hard not to eat this'...and then of course you eat it. Will power is weak.

Instead you could say, "it isn't like me to eat this type of stuff and negatively affect my health. This is very out of my character" Game. Changer. Nobody wants to go against their own perceived nature.

Example 2

'Ugh, i have to make myself go workout'. Ultimately that mentality will fail.

Instead say to yourself 'It is so unlike me to not be excited and motivated to workout'.

Convince yourself you are the type of person who has the desired habits rather than being a person who is willing themselves to be the same person with a new habit.

Change your view of yourself and the habits will follow.

Try to change the habits, and you'll give up.

This works for almost anything you want to change. It is something new I have implemented in myself and it has already made substantial changes that are seemingly effortless.

Thanks for reading!

- Ryan

 

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