posted on: 11/7/2011 11:32:11 AM EST
to break a bad habit by Anthony Fernando
dare to dream, motivation

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How To Break Bad Habits

I found this article and thought about how I am stretching and ways that I can let go of habits that no longer serve me. This was a guide . Hope it is useful.

Good habits are the things you do each day that gradually lead you towards becoming the person you really want to be, and to achieving your most important goals in life.

Conversely, bad habits are the things you do repeatedly that make you unhappy about the person you are becoming, and move you away from achieving your goals.

The good news is, that it IS possible to overcome bad habits once you understand what a habit really is and how your mind works.

You see, a habit is nothing more than a mental circuit, which is very similar to the electrical circuits in your home.

For example, lets take a look at a simple electric circuit.

You flick a switch on the wall, and the light in the ceiling turns on.

This circuit is made up of two parts:

(1) A Trigger
(2) A Response

In this example the trigger is flicking a switch and the response is the light turning on.

Habits work in the same way. We experience a specific trigger, which might be a thought, a feeling, or a situation, and in response to this trigger we activate a circuit in our mind that leads us to perform a certain action.

The secret to breaking bad habits is to learn how to rewire the habit-circuits in your brain.

There are five steps to this rewiring process:

Step 1: Identify a specific bad habit to focus on

Step 2: Break your bad habit down into a Trigger and a Response

Step 3: Create a new response

Step 4: Mentally practice your new response

Step 5: Implement your new response in the real world

Let’s take a look at an example to see how this works:

Doug walked out of the doctor’s surgery feeling as though he had just been slapped in the face.

The doctor had told him that he was at serious risk of having a heart attack and that if he didn’t make some big changes to his lifestyle he might not live to be 50.

As a father of two little girls, this came as a major wake up call, and he immediately made the decision that he was going to do something about it.

Doug knew that he had some bad habits that he needed to change, but he also knew that change was hard, and that he couldn’t turn his life around all at once.

So, he decided to follow the five-step rewiring process described above.

Step 1: Identify a specific bad habit to focus on

Doug reviewed his daily routine and identified a number of things that he wanted to improve.

For example, every night when he got home from work, Doug would get changed out of his work clothes, grab a beer and some pretzels, and sit in front of the TV to watch the news. He called this his ‘Chill Out Time’.

After his visit to the Doctor, Doug realised that this routine was actually a bad habit that he needed to change.

So he selected his ‘Chill Out Time’ as the specific bad habit he was going to focus on.

Step 2: Break your habit down into a Trigger and Response

Doug analysed his ‘Chill Out Time’ routine and realised that the Trigger for his current habit was changing his work clothes. As soon as he changed clothes, his brain activated his ‘Chill Out Time’ mental circuit.

His Response to this trigger was to grab a beer and some pretzels and head for his favourite chair in the living room.

Step 3: Create a new response

As a result of his doctor’s warning, Doug decided that instead of his regular chill out time, he was going to go for a walk around the block for half an hour.

This would be his new response to the trigger of changing out of his work clothes.

Step 4: Mentally practice your new response

That night before going to bed, Doug visualised the day ahead and imagined himself coming home from work.

In his minds eye he saw himself change out of his work clothes (His existing trigger). He then imagined himself walking out the front door and going for a brisk walk around the block (His new response).

The next morning, Doug again imagined his new afternoon routine and mentally practiced his new response.

Step 5: Implement your new response in the real world

That afternoon, when he arrived home from work, Doug came face to face with his familiar trigger activity. He changed out of his work clothes and then, just as he’d mentally rehearsed, he put on his track pants and walked past the fridge, out the front door and around the block.

In the weeks that followed, Doug continued to focus on changing this single routine in his life. Each time he connected the trigger activity of changing out of his work clothes to his new response of going for a walk, the mental circuit of his new habit was reinforced, and the mental circuit of his old habit was weakened.

Eventually his new response became automatic, and Doug successfully made the first change towards a healthier and happier lifestyle.

So today I’d like to encourage you to think about your own life, and identify any bad habits that you’d like to change.

You can then use this five step rewiring process to eliminate your bad habits and get back on track to becoming the person you really want to be.

To your success
Chari Farmer Ogogo
Twitter: reikigardens

BUSINESS OWNER COMMENTS:     leave comment
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Sharon Tate   1552 day(s) ago
What a great overview of re-programming the mind for success! Thanks - I'll tweet for you (one of my new habits)

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