How To Change a Bad Habit Part 1

By: Kristin Martineau | February 18, 2018

Why do we have such a hard time changing bad habits? We know that it isn’t good for us. Maybe we can even stop for a while, but so often we end up going back to it.

And then we get mad at ourselves. And tell ourselves that we are weak.

But it isn’t about being weak. Willpower is fickle. It’s not an effective strategy for change.

There’s a better way.

Next time you have an urge to engage in a habit you want to break, notice how you feel when you don’t give in. That feeling, whatever it is, is what you need to solve for.

For example, if you get home from work and want to eat a donut, stop for a minute. Notice what the urge feels like in your body. Notice what negative feelings you are having. When you answer those feelings with a donut, it’s really hard to articulate and understand what they are. So hold off for now, and pay attention. Write down what comes to your mind. Write down what you are feeling.

When you understand what you are actually feeling you can begin to solve for that. Maybe your job is unsatisfying. Maybe you are lonely. Maybe you are overwhelmed with the noise and chaos of trying to get your child to do homework and make dinner at the same time. Maybe the teacher sent home a note about your child’s behavior at school.

Our brains are designed to avoid pain. Donuts feel much better than stress and loneliness. Maybe it’s not donuts for you. It could be: yelling at your kids, zoning out on your phone, drinking too much or oversleeping. Your brain is doing it’s job of trying to keep you safe and comfortable. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you.

If you want to begin to change a habit, step one is NOTICE.

Having a hard time figuring out why you engage in a habit you want to stop? I can help you in a free mini session.

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