We all have habits that are good and bad… it’s part of being human.
If you’ve been struggling to build the habits you need to achieve your big goals and dreams and create your perfect life…this guide will help you change that.
Let’s learn how to break free from your bad habits and replace them with good ones.
Here is what you will learn in this blog…
- How to reprogram yourself for success and overcome your “negative autopilot”.
- How to simplify habit change.
- 3 principles to beat bad habits 10X easier.
- Plus a whole lot more…
Now before we dig into this very exciting topic check this out…
Make sure you PAY close attention and read this to the end to learn how to break your bad habits for good!
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Understand The Types Of Habits Needing Change
There isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to creating (or breaking) habits.
This means not all habits are created equal.
Before you can figure out how to about changing those nasty habits …you have to understand what types of habits you’re trying to change.
Habits can be binned into one of the three following categories…
Unconscious habits, as the name implies, happen unconsciously–we literally don’t need to think about… they just happen.
This can be things like…
- Sneezing without covering your mouth
- Using filler words like “Ummm”
- Or checking your phone every time it makes a noise
Inversely, there are several unconscious habits that are valuable.
- Making eye contact with people when you first greet them
- Taking deep breaths when you’re stressed out
- Sitting up straighter at your desk
- Smiling more often
All these unconscious habits may seem impossible to change.. there are methods that can help you establish or break them.
Any desire you routinely feel compelled to act upon–and do–is a Compulsive Habit.
Compulsive habits that are negative are very easy to identify – they’re the things that you really know you should give up but can’t:
- Late-night Netflix binges
- Eating too much sugar
- Consuming alcohol and other drugs
Inversely, positive compulsive habits are easy to identify.
They’re typically the types of things you resolve with a doer mindset but not everyone has this trait…
- Reading before bed
- Sleeping 7 hours a night
- Saving money
- Drinking a healthy smoothie every morning
Now let’s address the third and arguably most important type of habit…
Average Day’ Habits
The least obvious form of behavior (because they don’t cause guilt or shame, like Compulsive habits, or sabotage ourselves like Unconscious habits), are ‘average day’ habits…
‘Average Day’ habits simply represent actions or behaviors you repeatedly engage in on an average day that make up the rhythm of your life – for better or worse.
Although these habits are similar to compulsive habits, they differ in one main way…
Unlike compulsive habits, ‘average day’ habits are tied to the “meta” of how you live your life.
They aren’t necessarily linked to a specific action, but rather a specific pattern that plays out over and over again.
These habits are, in effect, a reflection of the principles by which you live your life.
Procrastination, for example, is an ‘average day’ meta habit that can manifest as hitting snooze, distracting yourself on the web, or putting off an important project until the last minute.
We all navigate the day using varying amounts of Unconscious, Compulsive and Average Day habits – and the sum of their impact upon our lives determines (to a large extent) how successful, happy and joyful our lives will be.
The habits themselves aren’t entirely to blame for the results we’re getting, though.
Because, more often than not these habits are perpetuated by a lack of self-awareness.
Which we can solve by…
Develop Self-Awareness Around the Traits that Drive Your Habits
Much like habits, humans all have different qualities and quirks that make us, well “us”.
We all exist somewhere along a spectrum with different personality traits that can either aid or hinder our efforts at habit reform.
Being a ‘morning person’ is great if you want to set the habit of exercising before work or devoting time to your most important priorities before you get distracted by other people…
But challenging if you’re trying to set the habit of scheduling one date night per week with your spouse… because romantic dinners are hard when your body clock is telling you to go to sleep at 8:30 pm.
When it comes to the area of habits, there are four personality traits to develop awareness around so you can be more successful in changing your behaviors.
Let’s examine where you fall on the spectrum…
The Energy/Income Investment Spectrum
One of the first and most frequently overlooked traits, as it pertains to habit change, is the way you balance investing energy and income to achieve your goals.
On one side of the spectrum are the “Hyper Frugal”.
People who have no problem investing a lot of energy into changing their habits, but are unwilling to fork out the cash that could make achieving their goals or changing their habits 10X easier.
Sure, these personality types are more prone to take action. But they do everything the hard way because they have a broken relationship with money.
By gaining self-awareness around this tendency, and recognizing those moments when you can “buy speed and ease” by investing in a resource that will make habit change easier, you’ll make it much easier to change your habits over the long run.
On the other side of the spectrum are the “Over Investors” who tend to throw more money at their problems than they do time and energy.
If this is you, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Once you know where you are on the spectrum, you’ll have a better understanding of how you can best change your habits.
If you’re the hyper-frugal type…bite the bullet and invest in the products, services, or training you need to move faster.
If you’re the over-spending “under-acting” type…STOP throwing money at unnecessary crap and instead focus on implementing a minimum standard of action each day.
Abstinence vs Moderation
Do you know people that are able able to open a block of chocolate and eat one piece per day… they are excellent at moderation of things.
Personally, I am struggle with that type of discipline – but that awareness allows me to use a strategy more suited to me:
Abstaining completely… from things I know are bad for me.
If you know that you’re the kind of person who can set a twenty-minute timer and stop yourself from scrolling through social media when it’s done…
Or you can stop yourself after one episode of your favorite show on Netflix per week – then you know the right formula for you to set (or break) habits.
If you’re like me, that’s impossible. There’s nothing wrong with you if you’re no good at self-moderating – but you’ll need to cancel your subscriptions, stop leaving chocolate around the house and leave your phone in the car because it’s simply easier to not face temptation.
Regardless of whether you’re trying to break an Unconscious, Compulsive or Average Day habit, you need to understand your ability to “moderate” yourself to determine how you should handle changing your habits.
Complete vs. Acute
The third trait to successfully change your habits is your tendency for “complete” or “acute” change.
Regardless of your personality traits, you must always seek to make habit change manageable… it’s better to workout 3 days a week for 6 months than 5 days a week for one month.
If you’re a “moderator” you will likely do better making small changes over time.
If you require abstinence to overcome temptation, you’re likely a “change everything all at once” type of person.
Again…neither trait is better or worse. The only thing that matters is that it works for you.
If you prefer to make small changes over time, I challenge you to push yourself to “stack” changes to build momentum faster.
And if you have a more nuclear disposition, I challenge you to reign in your intensity just a little bit and focus on making smaller changes to everything.
Promotion vs Prevention
When we consider the impact that better habits may have upon our lives, they can typically be lumped into one of two categories.
- Promotional – More money, a better-looking body, greater happiness
- Preventative – Less stress, pain, shame or guilt
Some of us tackle our habits because we desperately want to have a better future and be high performers – we’re benefit-driven.
If you’re driven by the benefits…own it. Leverage your competitive, materialistic, and ambitious qualities to drive your change.
Others are driven by fear… which is ok because when used properly, it’s a powerful motivator.
Remember… results are the only thing that matters – we’re all equal but not the same and we must find the strategy that suits us.
By gaining greater self-awareness and understanding your unique disposition, you can better understand how to drive change and what specific strategies and principles will work best for you.
4 Principles That Make Habit Change Easy
First the biggest part of the battle to changing your habits is understanding the nature of the habit you’re trying to set (or break) and your own personality traits…
Next, is setting the right course for the specific habit that you want to modify or start –
Here are some strategic courses of action you can begin with:
This strategy allows you to build positive daily habits (like meditating), and quitting negative compulsive habits (like binge eating).
This is accomplished by getting the support someone you commit to not let down or is benefiting from your new behavior with you.
In the book, High-Performance Habits… Brendon Burchard teaches the idea of performance necessity – an internal, personal, psychological demand to strive to do better because we have to.
Leveraging a social duty to a group of people with the same goal as you (such as your team at work), or a purpose for the people who rely on you (such as those who rely on you to be a healthier or a better financial provider) is our most powerful tool for making change.
Share your plans for the negative Compulsive habits you want to give up with people you trust, and give them permission to hold you accountable.
There are very few stronger feelings in the world than the kind you’ll experience when you are told: “You said you’d do this for us – and you didn’t”.
Being courageous enough to invite that kind of feedback is like dynamite for your motivation to change habits.
You could also join a group of like-minded people in an exercise group, business forum or social circle who are working to develop the same Average Day goals as you and allow the standards of the group to influence yours.
You can take this strategy to another level if you identify yourself as an under-spender who likes to make plans too complex: Consider investing in a trainer, coach or mentor and do exactly what you’re told.
Best deployed for Unconscious and Compulsive habits, this involves making the wrong thing hard to do and the right thing easy – which sometimes requires you to be creative.
Leveraging ‘Ease’ may involve planning out your day the night before, locking your phone in a cupboard, laying out workout clothes in the morning so you can jump out of bed and immediately get out for a walk, or installing software that restricts your use of certain apps at particular times during the day.
One of the reasons why we live on autopilot, letting our habits create our routines and daily structure, is because our brains love familiarity.
Quite often the simplest and fastest way to make your brain comfortable with the changes you want to make is to dedicate time each day – in the same place at the same time – to practice the behavior you want to follow.
For an unconscious habit (such as slouching at your desk), this practice may involve setting a 15-minute timer when you start work and sitting as tall as possible until it finishes.
For an Average Day habit such as stress management, you may use repetition by giving yourself a ten-minute time-out before lunch every day to journal your thoughts rather than allow them to loop through your mind.
For all the three different types of habits… triggering certain behavioral changes is the most powerful strategy.
Triggering involves priming your mind to perform in a certain way when exposed to a particular stimulus.
That stimulus might be greeting someone for the first time in the morning (and making eye contact with them while asking genuine questions about their day to set an Unconscious habit of being more engaged)…
It may be reminding yourself to improve your posture when stopped at traffic lights, brushing your teeth, or answering the phone.
Changing automatic, highly ingrained habits and behavioral patterns is very challenging – it involves a physical rewiring of your brain’s operating system…
But with practice and a greater understanding of the nature of different habits, increased self-awareness as well as some simple tools to support your efforts, you CAN become a high-performer and a more successful, happier and healthier human.
There you have it…
Three simple principles to help you change your bad habits and adopt new habits that serve you and your goals.
What did you think about this guide? What are you going to implement first?
Let me know in the comments below.
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As always DREAM BIG!!!