Everybody has bad habits. Everybody. Now granted, some people have less than others and some people’s bad habits are more grating than those of others, but we all have them. What is great is that we don’t have to! Imagine a life where you couldn’t change? What kind of life would that be? But we can, so let’s! There are two kinds of bad habits: Those you know you have that others may or may not know about, and those you don’t know you have but everybody else knows you have! For the sake of everybody involved we ought to get rid of them all, right? .
Well Chris, how can I get rid of a bad habit if I don’t know I have it? Simple, but hard. Ask somebody to be brutally honest with you! You might think, “Yeah, but I’ll be embarrassed.” Would you rather everyone talk behind your back? Get up the courage and ask. Ask somebody who loves you and has your best interest in mind. Be gracious and don’t defend your self. Just accept it and work on it. .
What about the ones we know about – which are all of them once your good friend tells you the ones you were missing? Those are the tough ones. How do I know they are tough? They must be tough if you know about them and yet you still have them! If they weren’t tough, they would be FORMER bad habits! Got me? Good! .
So how do you break a bad habit? How do you give it the boot out of your life? Here are a few things that must be a part of the plan in order to see that stuff gone forever! .
- You must want them to go. That’s right, some people want them to stick around. I have seen dads choose alcohol over their grandchildren. I have seen smokers continue smoking while watching their parents die of emphysema. They don’t want them to go. The first thing is to go deep into the recesses of your heart and ask, “Do I really want to give this up?” .
- You do? Good. Step two: Make up a list of all of the reasons you want to quit your bad habits. Make them positive. Make the list long! Start with the really powerful and dramatic if you need to. Now memorize them. Put them in your mind. You are making connections between stopping the bad behavior with what good things you will get from doing so. If you want to lose weight, then picture yourself slim and looking good in those skinny people clothes! If you want to stop smoking, picture your wife actually kissing you rather than sending you to the bathroom to brush your teeth! .
- Choose. That is right. Once you have the information, this comes down to one thing: It is an act of the will. Choose to do it. Say to yourself throughout the day, “I am choosing to…” Eisenhower rightly said, “The history of free men is written not by chance but by choice, their choice.” It is your choice. You can write your history. .
- Take action! Point four is tricky because there are two philosophies about this. One theory is that you must take massive action. You must go all or nothing. Using the weight loss example, this person would go spend $500 to join a gym, rework their schedule and hit the treadmill everyday for a year. They will get rid of all fat in the house. They go all out! That works for some. Others would burn out on that, feel like failures and be worse off than before. They should start out slow, taking baby steps, but working diligently toward a planned goal. This person would decide to start walking three days a week. They would decide to limit dessert to two nights a week, down from seven. See how this works? Either way is okay as long as you get to the goal eventually. Which one am I? The first two people to email me with the correct guess will win a “Best Test” CD. .
- Tell somebody. This is your accountability partner. Tell them your goal and tell them your plan. Write it down for them and have them ask you on regular intervals about your progress. This will prove invaluable! .
- Recover from failure. Inevitably most people will have setbacks. The key is to have them be setbacks and not turnbacks! Pick yourself up and get going again. Some people may want to lose 30 pounds and after losing fifteen they eat a gallon of ice cream. Then they feel bad and give up. Don’t! Reset your goal for another two weeks and get going again. Chalk it off to experience! Say to yourself, “Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn.”
- Reward yourself. That’s right. You should regularly congratulate yourself by rewarding yourself with some gift to yourself. Start small with small victories and plan a big one when you are finally and for sure over the habit. .
Is it that simple? Most of the time, no. Habits are hard to break. There are so many intangibles that it would be hard to cover them all. But this is a simple and workable plan that will help you make great strides if you apply the principles. .Get going! Give those bad habits a boot! Good luck!