When you change habits, everything changes. Having taken some time over the past few weeks to recognize and identify as many of our habits as possible, last week we began the task of evaluating each with the intent of determining which habits are serving us well and those we should reconsider replacing with new ones.
I have spoken with many people who have, firstly, admitted surprise when realizing how many habits they have acquired over the course of their lifetime and who, secondly, felt the number of habits they wished to replace to be quite intimidating.
As we now know, habits play an enormous role in almost every aspect of our lives which means that if we wish for anything to change, we must acknowledge that the first step in the change process is to identify the habits that govern the behaviours we wish to change.
Change Habits & Anticipate Rewards
We have now done our homework and are excitedly anticipating the rewards that new habits will bring.
As we have previously discussed, the most common method of attempting to form new habits is to focus on new and different behaviours.
Ask anyone who has lost weight only to gain it back, only to lose it again, only to gain it back again. How well does this work? It doesn’t.
When we focus on new behaviours we will certainly enjoy some success.
In fact, that success is quite often immediate and immensely satisfying.
The problem is that for the most part, it is not sustainable. Let me repeat that, it is not sustainable. And here is the ruse: having experienced and enjoyed some instant victory, we frequently revert to the very behaviours that brought the challenges to us in the first place.
Weight Loss & Changing Habits
There is a reason weight loss companies only feature current success stories in their TV commercials and not the success stories from five, seven and 10 years ago.
It is because they have relatively few of these folks available to pose for TV commercial photographs. Certainly, with the tens of thousands of customers they have, there are some who have kept the weight off for many years, but these folks represent only a tiny minority.
Most of their customers temporarily changed their behaviours and briefly enjoyed the consequence of those changes.
For the majority though, their old habits soon reclaimed their rightful spot and, sadly, it didn’t take very long for the weight to come back.
Unfortunately, often, with a bonus of extra pounds.
Clearly, for the many who have repeatedly tried this process, this is a strategy that doesn’t work which means there is not much to be gained (pardon the pun) by trying it again.
There is a clear formula to follow if we are to successfully bring new habits into our being that will stay with us for as long as we want them to, and will continue to steer us toward where we wish to go.
And, believe it or not, it all begins with what we believe to be true.
As we have discussed, everything we believe to be true, it is true (for us) … until it isn’t.
At the very foundation of our governing habits lies something we believe to be true of ourselves. It may not be a truth we approve of and, in fact, it may be one that causes us a great deal of harm and discomfort, yet we continue to hold onto it.
One of our habits – perhaps one we didn’t list and have not yet recognized – is the habit of forming, and holding onto, beliefs about ourselves.
Be sure to drop by next week as we delve into how to recognize our beliefs and how to go about changing them.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.