It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”.
Meaning the desire to kill a habit is not all we need, rather, we need something to counter it. Therefore, before you think about getting rid of that habit, find another habit to replace it. Because it’s the emptiness we feel when we try to kill a habit that keeps pulling us back to it.
So after making the decision to kill an old habit, and you’ve found a new one to take its place, here’s how you can easily get the new habit to take precedence;
After defining the new habit that will take you to that place where you wish to be, to that height you wish to reach, that goal you desire to achieve, the next thing to do is to add enthusiasm to it. By adding enthusiasm, we can feel the emotions around having that goal come to pass, and dwell on them.
Write down how it will feel at the end of the day when you’ve finally achieved that thing. Then start expressing the emotions. If you can’t feel and see yourself being happy with the result, chances are, you’re not going to want to do what you have to do.
“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” – Sean Covey
2. Focus all your attention on it
Before anyone can truly focus their mind on anything, they have to remove that thing which is on the way. And the one thing on the way is that old habit. When the thought of doing that thing which you used to do comes, remind yourself that the old habit is not going to take you where you want and this new habit is going to bring you more joy and help you live better. So when the thought of the old habit comes around, remind yourself of this new habit and concentrate all your attention on it.
3. Think about the new habit more often
Similar to the second point, the more you think about the new habit, the more you feel inclined to do what you have to do, or get where you want to go. This is the part where using timed affirmations comes in handy. Write down your new habit and read or remind yourself of it morning, afternoon and night or as much as you can. While reminding yourself about this new habit, think about the end goal, because that’s what will make the new habit seem less stressful.
4. Don’t go looking back
Sometimes, we tell ourselves “we’re just going to take a look, and we won’t do anything”. The more you take a look, the more you realize how much you miss it and more prone to doing it “maybe just once”.
So cut all ties with that old habit. Don’t keep any friends that still engage in that habit. Don’t be in the circle, avoid even talking to them when they’re performing that habit. The more you try the new habit the stronger you become, but the resistance to get back becomes weaker if you still pay attention to it.
“Your habits will determine your future.” – Jack Canfield
5. Have mini goals for the day, week and month
The more visible it seems that we’re moving toward a course, the more determined and motivated they become. And that’s why you should set mini-goals that will help you feel that you’re making progress. Because if you don’t feel you’re making progress, then there’d be more reasons to go back to the old habit.
Let’s say you want to form the habit of reading a book. Set little goals such as, read 2 pages every day, 10 pages at the end of the week and 40 pages at the end of the month. This way if you feel demotivated on the third day, you’d realize you’re 70% there which will force you to do more.
As you repeatedly perform these acts, with time, you won’t have to consciously remind yourself that you have to perform them rather, your body will force you every time to carry them out without stress.
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