Q: How can I break out of my old habits?
A: I used to tell my school students that, “Most people already know what to do. The challenge is to do what we know.”
Unfortunately, “knowing” won’t change your behaviour. Only a crisis or a change in thinking will change your behaviour. Thinking is where the action is and its one of the few things you can control – even prisoners have this freedom when physically locked up.
The sad reality is that most people don’t think, so in effect they are locked in mental prisons. We don’t learn how to think creatively or deliberately in most training and learning situations – mostly we receive more information.
In business, we are paid for what we do not for what we know and not for the ideas and plans we have. Knowing stuff does not give us results, our behaviour does.
Take some time to really get in touch with what you love. What you really want. Enjoy time exploring what this would be like. How it would make you feel. How others would react. In short, really become emotionally involved in your fantasy. Perhaps you have done this after buying one of the big lotto tickets? You see, the ticket gives you the belief that it might actually happen.
Remember, happiness doesn’t depend on who you are or what you have; it
depends solely on what you think.
– Zig Ziglar – 1926 – 2012, Author and Speaker
Now, make a decision that you are going to move towards your goal (no matter how crazy it might seem) and start behaving in a way that moves you towards it. Decide for example that being fitter or slimmer feels better than that beer or muffin tastes and you won’t feel penalized when you confidently and immediately say no when they are offered. As you stick with your decisions your results in that space will improve and you will form new habits.
The extent to which you become emotionally involved with the outcome (the new job, the business idea, the fitness or weight goal, the relationship matter …) believing it is possible and keeping that top of mind as you change habits will see you growing as a person and enjoying the feeling of success that comes with improved results. It begins with your conscious thinking, then making a decision and finally taking committed action over time. That’s is all so much easier with a coach and supportive processes to keep you on track.
If you have ever had plans but then done something else instead and wondered why, I have written a short paper entitled, “Crossing your knowing – Doing Gap” that might help you break through. It’s free to download here.
Finally, start today. Imperfect action will leave perfecting a plan for dead every time!
My beautiful Irish dad used to say “Son, you’re a long time dead” when I asked if I ought to do this or that. And he was right.
Don’t let another year whip by where you are living below your potential without the things you really wish for. Honestly, you can change your life spectacularly in just a few months if you choose to. In a year – Wow!