Two-step process to let go of unproductive and embrace new you
We are undeniably complex creatures. Our emotions do not understand reasons. Our thoughts can send us on a wild goose chase. We all do things we know we shouldn’t be doing. Yet we continue to do them repeatedly. Now if you sometimes fall short, that’s not bad. It just means you are human. You get back on the horse and all is good. Self-limiting behavior or let’ say bad habits are uncomfortable and difficult to overcome. They limit us, confine us and get in our way of operating efficiently. They bring us down for reasons created by ourselves. The good news is that like any other habit, it can be unlearned.
It is indeed possible to break free from non-serving patterns and discover your unfulfilled potential. Almost everyone I have talked on this topic has confessed that they feel they can do a lot more yet not able to get the ball rolling.
My aim of writing this piece and picking up this topic is to compel you to not limit your game. There is no rule book you have to follow. This self-limiting belief that you somehow have to follow a certain way of doing things hampers a lot of aspirations.
You sometimes lose by taking risks. You will always lose by holding back.If you are with me to shake things up and create a life that you desire, let’s get down to work now.
It is a two-step process. Firstly, identify what exactly are these habits. What is it that you do which is not taking you closer to your goals and frustrating you? They might be eating up your savings or hours. Both are precious! Most of the times we know what to do. We have trouble doing it because it is just outside our comfort zones. It triggers uncomfortable feelings and hence we keep putting it off.
Identifying and recognizing these habits is half job done. Now, these habits can be as simple as staying up late in the night while eating unhealthy snacks and watching mindless TV. Or they can be more complicated behaviors like making negative or sarcastic comments. You might think you are sounding witty but these comments are your roadblocks to your next promotion. I am sure you would like to get rid of these roadblocks. Whatever these simple or complicated habits are, list them down. By writing them down, they become in concrete existence from a vague concept. It is easy to work on things you can see and research. It is easy to be determined and mindful when you know what your next step is. Our aim here is to create small wins, arrest the triggers and track progress.
The secondstep is to find out How to do that. The most effective way suggested by studies is to replace them with good ones. Sounds simple and logical too, isn’t it? Want to lose weight? Eat healthily and exercise. Both you and I know that in reality, it doesn’t work out to be as simple. It is extremely hard to break old patterns and form new ones. At the same time, it is also true that if it really matters, you will find a way to make it happen. It takes 2-3 weeks to form a new habit and after 3 weeks your chances of sticking with changed way is quite high. All you need is determination and will-power to hang in there for first few weeks. If you are checking notifications on your phone way too many times, you need to keep your phone away from you and consider carrying a book with you.
In the previous example of staying late in the night, you will notice that one bad habit leads to another bad habit. Eating junk snacks and watching mindless TV are the consequences of the first bad habit of staying up late. Similarly, one good habit leads to more good habits and creates a positive impact on your life. Continuing with the same example, if you form a new habit of waking up early, you will find time to hit the gym or do something else you were not finding time for. Start 10 minutes at a time. Start with a baby step, create small wins and build the momentum. It is not possible to be perfect all the times in all areas of life. Let the good habits always outweigh the bad ones.
Some people give too much emphasis on motivation. Getting inspired and staying motivated is nice. Our productivity and achievements are also by-product of the environment we have created for ourselves over the period of time. Get rid of the negative triggers around you. Hang out with people who bring out the best in you. Be thankful. Smile a little more. Great things will inadvertently come your way.
You can also answer as to When one should be breaking free of bad habits. I say the answer is NOW. Let me inspire you with this quote by Tony Robbins – The only person who is truly holding you back is You. No more excuses, it’s time to change. It’s time to live life at a new level.