“If you've been trying unsuccessfully to change a habit, understand that there is usually one hidden advantage or liking for that particular behavior just below your conscious awareness.” ~Hale Dwoskin
Steven Covey said it best when he said: “Our character is a composite of our habits, which form a powerful factor in our lives. Because habits are consistent, unconscious patterns, they constantly express our character and produce our effectiveness and ineffectiveness.”
Covey says that "Habits have a strong gravitational pull - and breaking deeply imbedded habitual tendencies, such as procrastination, impatience, criticalness and selfishness, involve more than just mere willpower. "
So what do you need in order to break deeply imbedded habits that you know are holding you back?
Awareness of why you have the habits to begin with…and what you’re gaining from having them.
Consider the quote above from Hale Dwoskin, and then consider that your “bad” habits that hold you back actually give you some sort of pay-off. It may not be a pay-off that you like or enjoy tolerating, but it most likely gives you a sense of safety, a sense of control, and an excuse to stay where you are. Stuck in your old ways.
If you’re ready to transcend your old habits and break them for good, check-out the below tips to help you get started.
Step 1: Inventory Your "Bad" Habits: To help you break old habits that you know deep down are no longer serving you, take out a sheet of paper and write down the 5 main “bad” habits you’d like to break and transcend. Make sure to leave enough room (paragraph size) to write below each word.
Step 2: Find the Opposite: After you write down your 5 old habits you’d like to break, write down the opposites of what you’d like to inhabit.
Step 3: What Is The Pay-Off of Your Habits? Now, take your old habits that you wrote down and document the benefit you’ve receiving as a result of having this habit in your life. What is the pay-off you’re receiving? What is the GIFT this aspect gives you?
Keep in mind that this process is going to feel completely unnatural to you – but stick with me.
For example, if impatience is an old habit you’d like to break, consider that the benefit/gift/pay-off that being impatient gives you is: a sense of urgency, an ability to get things done fast, etc.
Then, consider how impatience holds you back from achieving goals that you’d like to achieve and WHY you want to incorporate more patience in your life.
This exercise is all about integration. Helping you realize your wholeness – and that whatever aspect that you have and “own” is there for a reason because it serves you.
Trust me, once you fully own the benefit of a “bad”, old habit it will change and transform, but only once you realize why you love it first!