All change – how to master our innate ability to form positive habits!

posted by on May 20th, 2016

Changing the way we think about things is like changing any habit; it requires effort, motivation and continued reinforcement. The truth is that many people struggle to change their unwanted habits. If you have ever tried to give up smoking or lose that last 7lbs then you’ll know what I mean. It’s almost as if no matter how many times you repeat your mantra or visualise success that around 6 p.m. that pint or cake magically appears in your hand. Before you know it you’re thinking ‘oh, never mind, I’ll start again tomorrow’!

Relying solely on willpower to change a habit is like expecting a car to continue to run without fuel. Our levels of willpower deplete over time and that means we need multiple strategies to help us.

So how can we do that?

Well tapping into our innate ability to create habits is one approach. On my previous post I mentioned how triggers (or cues) are the precursor to a process (what we do) followed by a ‘reward’ (e.g. feelings, outcome). These steps are the foundation stones of habit forming.

When it comes to changing habits many often focus their willpower towards ‘stopping’ doing something. Well I’d like you change that and turn your focus towards ‘starting’¬†something instead. In other words create a new more helpful habit.

So over the next few days why not think about how you can adopt a ‘start doing’ approach. What new habits can you begin to form that will help replace the unwanted ones? Furthermore I’d like you to really get creative. The more imaginative and engaged you become with creating a new habit the better.

For¬†example if you want to change your habit of ‘moaning about work’ then instead of stopping yourself every time you are about to ‘go off on one’ about what a pain your boss is try researching new opportunities. Perhaps you could investigate other roles, maybe sign up for some career coaching sessions or go on a course. The aim is to take action to help focus you in a more positive direction.

Right, I am now off to develop ideas for future posts. You see writing these posts is helping me create a new ‘Friday habit’ – I hope it helps you too.

Have a good week.