‘Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.’ – Lao Tzu
I could actually stop today’s post right here, as the answer is already within the above quote.
Powerful words like this remind me of being in a particular church service when the Pastor was saying something so powerful and profound, I decided to walk out because I didn’t need to hear anything else, that word was enough. I was moved and refueled to grow again. I decided I would hold on to the little 1-minute speech he made and apply it immediately, instead of hearing the whole hour and doing nothing with it.
Stopping habits simply comes down to you: –
1) Paying attention to what habits you are trying to stop. Notice and write down what habit you are trying to stop. Know the goal and write it down and even give it an expiry date. SMART targets are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive targets.
2) Focus on the process now, and plan the process. Do not focus on the goal. For example, many students get very stressed while studying to become a doctor, or pleasing their parents, some even feel like committing suicide when they fail an exam. But if you focus on daily small steps, like just attending on time, being organised, setting revision time, asking for help, the daily process will take you to your goal without focusing on the goal.
If your goal was to get fit or eat healthily, the process would be to buy healthy food, start having your 5 a day, start doing daily small exercises, 5-minute duration, and then slowly increase the duration etc.
Daily steps. One day doesn’t make us fit, but multiple days of consistency takes us to the goal without focusing on the goal.
3) Recognise triggers and replace unhealthy habits with something healthy.
If your goal was to stop smoking or drinking, the process would be to recognise your triggers and amounts. The process would be to either decide anytime you felt like smoking to replace it with something else. For example, having the cigarette in your mouth but not lighting it, instead try reading a book or doing something else while it is in your mouth.
Notice how long you were able to go without lighting it, you could also hide the lighter and decide instead of reading the book this is the perfect time to do some star jumps, or different exercises to help you replace the unhealthy habit with something healthy, and before you know it you would have forgotten the urge to smoke (be busy, find passion).
If your goal was to stop watching so much TV, monitor the amount of time you spend watching TV and set timers when you sit down as a reminder to make you get up and do something else, whether it be exercise, or reading, or starting a new hobby or passion.
4) Be accountable to someone, show them your plans and process, become more disciplined, and have more self-control by clicking here. Learn how to believe in yourself by clicking here. ‘Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power’.
5) Set your mind and thoughts on higher things, and positive things, faith, hope, and joy, instead of speaking words of self-doubt, low esteem, and anger.
Choose your words wisely and repeat them daily, start your day and create it, and tell your day what it will be like. Do not wait for the day to just do as it pleases to you. You are in control of your day, and especially how your mind reacts to daily situations.
Set your mind right, before you walk out the door, or as soon as you wake up. Learn how to make things happen by clicking here.
6) Remember to track your process and reward yourself for progress. For example, if your goal is to spend less money on unhealthy habits, or to start being able to save, the process would be to write the budget of your income and all expenditures planned. Then monitor and note next to your forecasts, what you are actually spending each time you spend money.
Think about will leaving the card at home help? Will only using cash help so its easier to track what you are actually spending daily? Or will having another account where you transfer only the minimum you need for that day etc help? Learn to make better to-do lists by clicking here.
Have you got any other habits you would like to get some help with. Or have you got any advice to share on how you broke your habits? Comment below.
I remember I decided to stop smoking instantly, my church was fasting, but I decided instead of doing a food fast, I would do a smoking fast. One day became two days, and two days became three days, and then a week, and then I realised there is no point in going back at all. I focused on the daily process and forgot about the goal, less pressure.