Are there aspects of your life you wish were different? Perhaps you’d like to exercise more, eat healthier food, have a wider range of friends, or read more thought-provoking books. You think about making changes, but somehow the days pass in a busy blur and things stay the same. You feel disappointed and frustrated with yourself. You’re not alone, we all find it hard to make meaningful changes.
One of the reasons we struggle to make changes is because much of our daily life runs on auto-pilot. Think of your everyday routine. You wake at the same time, eat the same breakfast, travel to work in the same way at the same time, talk to the same people, have morning coffee at the same time/ place, come home at the same time and fill your evening watching the same TV programs before going to bed at the same time each night. Our lives are a series of habits.
But habits aren’t always bad – some are great. Habits can either support you or hinder you. Good habits such as managing your finances, eating healthy food, studying to learn a new skill and exercising regularly enable you to achieve goals in your life. So why do we develop unhelpful habits?
We develop unhelpful habits to deal with stress or when we’re feeling disappointed. We grab a wine when we’re stressed or escape into mindless TV when we feel disillusioned with our jobs. We hit the shops when things are tough at home or we get into bad habits of communication with those we love.
Instead of dealing with the problems that are making our life uncomfortable, we create bad habits to avoid dealing with them.
I’ve found that by following these five guidelines, I’m slowly building new habits that make me feel good about myself.
Change is difficult and uncomfortable for most people, especially when you’re trying to change the habits of a lifetime or long-held beliefs. Robert Kiyosake, entrepreneur and author of the best-seller Rich Dad, Poor Dad explains why he thinks people never change:
There is no one in your way except you and your doubts about you. It is easy to stay the same. It is not easy to change. Most people choose to stay the same all their lives.
I’d love to hear any tips you have for changing habits or about the challenges you face when you want to create a new habit. Feel free to leave a comment and to share this post with others.
Image by Lindsey Turner