Why do you fail to change those bad habits?!
We all know someone who tries to lose weight ready for summer or the friend who is just about to quit smoking for the 40th New Year's resolution in a row. If we are honest we could probably pull out a fair few bad habits that we have been unable to stop.
All my colleges could vouch for me when I say at least once a month “‘I’m going to stretch for 20 minutes three times per week’.” Almost every time, I have got 3 minutes into the first session and found a ground breaking idea that has got me out of stretching.
There are two types of changes that we need to make …..
Immediate gratifications are those behaviours that we find easy to implement but hard to stop.
Example: Drinking a glass of wine at 8pm every time you sit down to watch TV.
Delayed gratifications are easy to stop but hard to implement.
Example: Instead of watching Coronation Street the night before the exam, you decide to study.
Most of the poor decisions we make that result in a feeling of failure are down to being unable to manage the basic principles of delayed gratification.
The immediate gratification is always outweighing the delayed gratification for us as humans. Immediate makes sense to us, immediate is easy.
We don't get much immediate reward from eating healthy right now, however some people are able to continue to eat healthy week in week out because they feel it's the right thing to do and are capable of managing those immediate gratifications.
When it comes to a physical appearance there is no INSTANT measurable outcome, to keep the motivation high and provide that immediate gratification you would get if you lost 2 stone overnight. It takes weeks and weeks to see true results as far as weight loss; this often leads to failure and reverting back to old habits.
How can we break the cycle?!
FIND THE MAGIC LINK
I do believe breaking down habits into smaller sections helps long term.
The idea of completely changing old habits and starting the ‘new you’ sounds really appealing but the likelihood of dropping off after 5 days is probably high.
You need to constantly tell yourself that by breaking down these habits into smaller sections you are being productive.
Going back to my stretching obsession, (or lack thereof).
I tried to stretch three times a week for the foreseeable future. I completed one week but did not feel the benefit.
I knew I would have to continue this for months before seeking a noticeable and visual improvement, but the thought of that was motivationally draining.
For me, the magic link was finding the sustained achievable amount which felt productive.
Monday arrives; can I stretch for 15 minutes this morning?
15 minutes…ARE YOU MAD?! The thought of even 10 minutes eating into my chill out time before work was not appealing, however 5 minutes won't hurt anyone.
POWWW, 5 minutes is better than nothing and for me this is very achievable.
There is always a minimal amount that will be beneficial.
You can apply this to so many habits that will be manageable but beneficial:
The list is endless.
From there over time you can continue the process of breaking down until the bad habit never punches you in the face again.
Finishing up …..
If you find accountability hard, find a friend, family member or coach to help you become accountable/ keep you on track.
Need some motivation? Make a wager with someone that you will follow through with your goal, invest in a coach, create a way that there is no other option but to crack the habit.
Strong mind, Strong body.