How can you change a habit?
Freeing yourself from an "Addiction," can be as simple as changing a habit.
Sometimes asking people to give up an addiction is like asking them to instantly and completely change the person they are. Most addictions develop in the first place because they are meeting a need in the person's life. Whether they like the feelings or actions associated with the substance or behavior, or perhaps it helps them out in social situations or at work, or even helps take away the pain of their lives. People do what they do for a reason.
So, asking anyone to change, is asking a lot - especially when they feel that what they do is part of their nature. “It is just the way I am, so do not expect me to change.” However, if you can try to think about addictions as seriously bad habits, that can perhaps be changed little by little, then the process of change seems at least possible. It is a lot easier to think about changing a habit than changing our very nature.
Even considering an addiction as a disease, still allows the person to find ways to get help for them self, whether that is medical, social supports, making changes to a healthier lifestyle, and so on. However, success in life can quickly be achieved by learning how to cultivate effective habits. The new habit does not have to be a huge change in your whole lifestyle, although that may be the end result, it just has to start with simple and small changes in your day to day behavior.
Do you think you are ready to make some small changes?
Perhaps try the following self-directed challenge to change a bad habit into a good one.
Pick a personal habit that you want to change. Write it down on a piece of paper and explain:
Step Number One: Visualize your habit completely.
Visualize and describe your habit in full: What is the habit that you want to change? Try to describe it as completely as possible. Visualize everything about the habit and write down everything that is involved. For example if "smoking" is the habit you want to change then start with buying a pack of smokes. Opening the package, lighting the cigarette, etc. Write as if someone does not understand at all what you mean by “stop smoking.” Write down all the behaviors (small steps) that you want to change. Imagine you are trying to explain your habit to a three year old, or someone who does not understand English very well. The idea here is to get you to visualize clearly what you want to change.
Step Number Two: Think through the "Pros" and "Cons" of making the change.
Why change? Why do you want to change this behavior? List as many reasons as possible, why you want to change this behavior. Write down how you feel about your habit.
What is good about your habit? Now, as a sub-category write down what is good about this habit or why you like it why you are doing it. You must be doing for a reason or perhaps many reasons. So, list as many as you can. What purpose does doing this behavior serve?
Step Number Three: What if you were FORCED to keep this habit forever?
Now think about - Forever: Now, write down any possible consequences if you keep up this behavior for the rest of your life and do not change. What could happen?
Step Number Four: Consider all the little steps that you can take to gradually "let go" of the habit.
Thinking about changing: How are you going to change this behavior? List at least three things that you can do differently to change this behavior. Think about PROCESS what processes can you do differently?
Step Number Five: Seal up your "promise to yourself" and get started.
Now seal up your piece of paper in an envelope or put it away somewhere safe. If you have an envelope write on it the date at which you are to open it and review your results. Congratulations you have begun a formal process of committing to change.
Remember: Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration!
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