Changing a life-style habit is like trying to sleep in a different position than you normally sleep. The body just feels so comfortably cradled in that certain position. In a subconscious way, you always end up on your side, back or stomach every night for the past umpteen years. How can you break that habit? Old habits really are hard to break. Once you are aware of a habit needing to be changed, then you start to contemplate change. Here are some time-tested strategies to change those old life-style habits, one moment at a time.
Take it Slow: Unwanted habits occur one moment at a time. After breakfast, you may always have a smoke. When you get home from work, you may always reach for unhealthy snacks. At each of these moments, you can plan for change. Change does not have to happen all at once, just one moment at a time, slowly. Thinking about change in this way allows for even the oldest habits to look less insurmountable.
Schedule Your Day: Sometimes those idle moments are the weakest moments when the addictive habits become too tempting. If an alternative activity is scheduled at those normally weak moments, then the moment can be filled with something new, and hopefully healthier. A schedule can keep you focused on something other than your unhealthy customs. On the other hand, a schedule can also keep you in a rut. So, sometimes the schedule needs to be different than your usual routine because those usual patterns are littered with your unhealthy habits. For example, instead of driving down the same road to get to work, a different route might not take you right past your favorite Starbucks. Schedules can make or break your attempts to change your life-style.
Find a Replacement Activity: In order to schedule your day properly around weak moments, you must also find a suitable new habit. If you smoke, find something different for the hands to do like knitting. If you eat, find something different for the mouth to do like drink an entire glass of water. If you watch television, remove yourself from the environment by taking a walk. Each moment can be changed if you can replace an unwanted habit with a healthier replacement activity.
Be Prepared for Relapse: Not every moment is going to be perfect, so try not to be too hard on yourself. These little speed bumps happen. But, turning a speed bump of imperfection into a roadblock of failure is counterproductive because the stress of failure will undermine your attempts to get back on the road of change. Forgive yourself and keep going, one moment at a time.
With each moment, you can progress to a complete life-style makeover or you can simply change one habit like your normal sleep posture. Nothing is impossible when you have good schedule sprinkled with suitable replacement activities that take on one moment at a time, slowly.
Published On: January 19, 2011