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					                  How to Change Your Unwanted Habits
     By Michelle Wynn Psychologist, Psychotherapist and Life Success Coach

It has been said that human beings are „Creatures of Habit‟.
Habits are routines of behaviours that occur outside of conscious
awareness. Many Habits are helpful, in that they help you to manage your
time, and complete important and routine everyday tasks.
Most people admit to being troubled by unwanted habits at some time in
their life, and many attempt to eliminate them. How many of your friends
start the New Year full of good intentions to kick an unwanted habit, and
give up by the end of January? Maybe this has happened to you too!
Do you have a habit you would like to eliminate? Is your habit your
servant or your master? Are you aware that ultimately, your habits
determine your future!

No matter what you might long for in life, you don‟t just drift along into
the life you desire, you have to create what you want by taking action in
the direction of your goals.
Ask your self some questions about the habits you have developed, some
will be helpful habits, in that they are consistent with your values,
While others habits are unhelpful and do not serve your life goals.

Breaking a habit involves will power! Habits differ from addictions
because they can be controlled by the will, whereas addictions are
negative behaviours that are no longer under the control of the will.
Many people hang on to unhelpful habits because they meet an important
emotional need in the form of a Reward. Habits are not innate; rather
they are learned and influenced by the environment by a process known
as Reinforcement (reward). Think about the reward you derive from the
habit you wish to eliminate. Do you have the will power to give this up
and make a change?

Identify one unhelpful habit in your life and ask yourself;
What keeps it going?
Does it meet a social or emotional need in you? How does this habit
impact on your life? Does it affect your sense of the future? How would
you like it to be different?
In what way would your life be different if you could break free of this
unhelpful habit?

Studies have shown that in order to break free of unhelpful habits it is
necessary to Replace them with habits that promote and serve your goals.
   Can you think of a helpful habit you could develop so that you can
                      Replace your unhelpful habit?

The findings of psychological research demonstrate that habits develop
through Repetition, with very little or no thought involved.

So, we know that habits become automatic through consistent repetition
and reward. This applies to both helpful and unhelpful habits, whatever it
is you repeat and reward in a consistent way for 30 days will become a
new habit, whether it is helpful or unhelpful, good or bad!
Understanding the factors that influence the formation of habits will help
you to apply them to creating the habits you want to develop; habits that
serve your goals.
Anthony Robbins, the famous motivational speaker tells his audiences:

“If you don‟t set a baseline standard for what you will accept in life, you
 will find it easy to slip into behaviours, attitudes or quality of life that
                     falls far below what you deserve.”

If you are ready to eliminate an unwanted habit you will find some
guidelines below.


    When attempting to eliminate an unwanted habit, it is much easier
     to deal with one habit at a time, so that you do not set yourself up
     for failure by taking on too much at once.

    Write down a start date and give yourself a 30 day time frame to
     replace an unwanted habit with a one that you would like to
     develop.

    Write down your goals and tell others about your intentions, this
     will help you to take responsibility for your decision and make you
     accountable to yourself for follow-through.

    List the pros and cons of eliminating your unwanted habit; this will
     help you to strengthen your motivation, by focusing on what you
     want and what you don‟t want in your life.

    Be sure to find out what your triggers are. All habits have a trigger
     point; it may be time of day, or other context, which acts as a
     trigger for you to exercise your unwanted habit. For instance; do
     you eat in the context of being hungry or when you see food?!
    Use self-talk to help you cope with temptation. Access support
     from others who believe you can do it and are not likely to
     sabotage your progress.

    Identify the obstacles that might get in the way of you reaching
     your goal. Make a plan so that you can manage blips and setbacks
     to progress. Expect blips as part of the process and don‟t give up!

    Use your pros and cons list to help you to stay motivated on a daily
     basis, add pictures or photographs as visual aids to prompt you to
     stay on target.


On your „start day‟, consistently replace the unhelpful habit with the
helpful one you have chosen.

Remember that repetition and rehearsal establishes a new pattern, so
stick with it!

Change the environment so that the relationship between your trigger and
your response is disrupted. Be consistent!


Follow these instructions for 30 days minimum and then review your
progress. If you have a blip, look for the trigger, and plan to be more
vigilant next time it occurs.
Make your habits your servants; do not allow unwanted habits to prevent
you from living your dreams! You are able to choose, and you have the
power to make change happen in your life, no-one else does. If it is
important to you, it can be overcome. Ultimately, it is what you DO that
matters in life. Helpful habits lead to positive futures.
Take Action!
Use these tips to help you identify problem behaviour, move forward and
stay on track.


What will you be doing differently 30 days from now?
Write it down here:
……………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………
If someone was watching you what would they be noticing about you?
Write it down here:
……………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………
Now live what you have described, live it consistently every day
                             for 30 days!


Safety note:
If you decide to eliminate a drug, alcohol or other chemical habit, seek
expert opinion before quitting outright. Your habit change will need to be
managed with gradual reduction under medical supervision in order to
ensure your safety.



 If you would like further information on Habit Formation or elimination
           of unhelpful habits then you can order books from
           Amazon in the Wellness Store page of the website
                       www.wellnesswayfinderinstitute.com


Some useful suggestions are:



        The Habit Change Workbook; How to break bad habits and
         form good ones.
         J Claiborn


        Changing for Good: A revolutionary 6 stage programme for
         overcoming bad habits and moving your life positively forward.
         Prochaska & DeClemente


        Habitually Great: Master your habits, own your destiny.
         Mark Weinstein


        Love and Survival
         Dean Ornish

				
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posted:9/22/2011
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