A bad habit is the barrier that blocks you from crossing a bridge to get you to your goal. Ultimately, what you need to do is remove this barrier from your path to allow you to walk toward your dreams.
Bad habits in real life
Firstly, I want you to understand that the bad habits in your life are addictions, whether you see them as this or not. It’s true.
Let me take two very simple, relatable examples:
You want to learn a new language. So, you constantly tell and convince yourself that you’re too busy to achieve this. But, how about the 2 hours you spend watching TV in the evening or going down to the pub?
You have always wanted to achieve your dream body and you constantly tell yourself that you’re doing all you can to get you there. You frequently say “Why isn’t it happening to me?”.
Do you believe that the people you see that appear to be carved by the Gods are picking up a takeaway for one along with a bottle of wine a week?
Of course, everything can be done in moderation, however it’s having the inner self-control which ultimately lets you down. You have to work out that although it seems that the 1 hour of video games isn’t doing any harm, it is in fact stopping you from doing something that will actually benefit your life.
Put this into practise
Addictions, no matter how small are what stops you from achieving your dreams and goals. Firstly, I would like you to list some things you wanted to achieve this year.
Here are some goals I’ve previously set myself:
- Become fit and make healthier choices
- Actively get involved with charity work
- Learn how to bake
Now, how many of your goals have you made progress towards achieving or perhaps have already?
A lot of goals are sadly forgotten about…
If you are maintaining a healthy diet and exercising, on average it takes around 6 months to notice a real difference. Imagine how many 6 months have passed since you first made a promise to yourself that you’d start. Where would you be now? What would you look like now?
The thing is, we get comfortable in a situation, even if it makes us unhappy. We accept it because it’s familiar to us and in a way it’s easier for us to remain as we are.
Because you have repeated the same bad habits over and over again, your mind and body work against you when you want to change. You have an inner voice that says “No, we have always done this, we cannot change now. Stay as you are, it’s easier this way” and so, we don’t change but are forever wishing we would.
What you need to do is:
- Identify the bad habit
- Understand how this bad habit affects your life
- How it developed in the first place
- How much time you are wasting on this bad habit
Whenever we procrastinate, we don’t necessarily enjoy it but we convince ourselves that we will enjoy this activity more than the job we should actually be doing.
When we satisfy a small goal, for example – You’re hungry, so you stop at a fast food restaurant. For a short space of time during this meal, you feel happy that you’ve satisfied a small goal. You wanted it, you got it!
But you will wake up the following morning, still dreaming of a fitter, healthier you. The problem with this is that when something gives you instant pleasure, it makes you want to repeat it more and more, this is how it becomes a habit.
Short term goals are easy to achieve, this then makes the reward or effect instant, we are impatient beings. Satisfying your short-term goal, although easy, never compares to the feeling when you reach your long-term goal, always remember that!
So, you’ll start that diet on Monday. You’ll only gamble ONE more time this weekend. Gym definitely starts next week, oh and this is you last cigarette! Right?…
See how we put off quitting our bad habits or bad routines? If you delay you will only make it harder for yourself.
If you really wanted something, I mean, really wanted it. You would go for it straight away. If you were offered 1 million pounds, you wouldn’t say “Hmm, I can’t pick it up today, I’ll get it next Monday”
Because you can’t see an easy way to achieve your ultimate goal, you find it very hard to draw the motivation to actually do it.
You will mess up
We are human beings, perfectly designed to not be perfect. When something is imbedded into your life, taking it our of your schedule will feel very abnormal. Naturally, you’ll want it back again.
So, understand that it’s okay to try and fail. You may fail many times before you succeed, but that’s not a reason to never try again.
If you failed your driving test the first time, you wouldn’t give up, would you? If you couldn’t navigate around a new city, you wouldn’t never go there again, would you?
Once you understand how detrimental a bad habit is to your life, you will feel very motivated to remove it. However, because these bad habits are so integrated into your life, you find it hard to imagine life without it. But, it’s possible!
What’s important for you now is to make sure you take responsibility for allowing these bad habits into your life. YOU are in control of everything YOU do and YOU have the power to change it. By taking responsibility you tell yourself, you brought it here, you can remove it.
How many times have you heard someone make an excuse for the bad habit they have in their life?
- I drink so much coffee because it’s constantly offered at work
- I swear all the time because my friends do
- I never go to the dentist because my last experience put me off
Granted, you are definitely influenced by experiences and surrounds but ultimately you make the choice whether you accept them into your life. Bad habits are a reflection of how much you value your health, time and life.
If you watch TV for 2 hours a day, in a year you’ve spent almost 1 month in front of a TV screen. What could you do with an extra 30 days?
If you feel disappointed about the amount of time wasted on these bad habits, use it to motivate you. Unfortunately, you cannot go back in time to change anything, you can only make a change in the present.
So, start small. Take that one bad habit out your life for 1 hour a day. If you play video games for 2 hours, change it to 1. Just by making this small change, you are allowing yourself 15 extra days in a year.
So many people would love to have that time, so do something that benefits your life and you will reap the rewards.
Change your surroundings – Neuroplasticity
The mind is a very powerful tool, so powerful that there are no limitations as to where it can go, what it can think or what it can do. Your memory ties things to your subconscious, this can be in a form of a smell, certain clothes, places or sounds.
Have you ever heard a song that reminds you of a time you’d like to forget or a time that you’d like to relive? Maybe you smell something familiar and like magic the nostalgic feeling takes you back to your childhood where suddenly your reminiscing being at your grandparents for Sunday lunch.
This is our subconscious letting us know, “Oh, you know this, it’s familiar!” and that’s where the battle begins. Almost every ex-smoker cannot bear being around the smoking area, whys this? Because the brain has tied that smell to the habit they once had.
Neuroplasticity is your brains ability to adapt to change by forming new neutral connections. You can achieve change by continuously repeating your healthy habits. Your brain will adapt and notice a new routine and it will eventually become a natural habit for your body, the only difference here is that it WILL be a healthy one.
If you’re a person that procrastinates, your brain will shape itself to be that way, in turn making it harder for you to stop. So, change up your desk at work, rearrange the furniture in your house or start wearing a different fragrance.
It’s important that as soon as you implement these changes, you act on the new you! If you change your desk at work and then bring in an unhealthy breakfast, your subconscious will link this up, without you realising. Then you are back to square one.
So, fully commit yourself to your new lifestyle and don’t give up because those bad habits are eating up your time and leading you further and further away from your dreams and goals. Grab every minute, grab every second and use it in the most positive, beneficial way possible.