Habits run our daily life. Pretty much everything you do is based on a habit you’ve developed at some point in your life. Some habits are helpful, while others can also work against you. Even worse – there are a few “bad habits” that can have a negative, long-term impact on your capacity to live a fulfilling life.
Smoking. Hoarding. Eating junk food. Drinking too much alcohol. Even spending too much time on the Internet all these are bad dreams you can master and break from your life. Let’s face it, we all have a bad habit we’d like to break, or a new habit we’d like to start practicing – like exercising in the early morning, or eating a healthy lunch, or reading a novel, devoting much time for one’s loved ones and so on. All these habits can be applied to ones daily life and each has its consequence or significance which it adds to one’s personality. While following in the habit footsteps of others may not be the key to your success, forming a new habit, or getting rid of an old, unhealthy one, is the key to happiness and success, and achieving dynasty.
Our life is not defined by what we think and do every once in a while. It is defined by what we think and do repeatedly. So developing the right type of habit, and breaking bad habits, should be at the heart of any effort to grow or transform your life.
Mastering a bad habit
- Take complete responsibility for your actions. You are the king or queen of your actions — no one is responsible for them but you. When you get behind the driver’s seat after three too many drinks, that is your decision. In some ways, it may be more practical than getting on a bus.
- Start scrutinizing the consequences and rewards of your habits. Make a simple pro/con list of what your habit gives you. Try to be viciously, unsparingly honest with yourself. Youcan do it. Make your own pro/con list of the bad habit.
- Begin to weigh the short-term rewards with the long- term consequences. Usually, we justify indulging in a habit we know is bad because we value the short-term rewards disproportionately over the long-term effects. And that’s because we can’t see the long-term effects — they’re far off in the future, hard to judge, sometimes uncertain. It’s much easier to see and feel the short-term benefits.
Ditch Your Bad Habits
Clearly identify your bad or unproductive habits. Write them down.
Be specific—and totally honest. Remember to consider the long- term consequences should you continue in this bad habit. Consider habits at home, at work, in your free time, and in matters related to your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Define your new successful habit and visualize its results in your life.
Your new habit is usually the simple opposite of your bad one. Think about all the benefits and rewards you’ll enjoy once you adopt your new successful habit. The more vividly you describe the benefits, creating the new picture in your mind, the more likely you are to make changes.
Create a three-part action plan.
For every bad habit, there are at least 15 action steps you can take to help you stop. Put some time into this and think about it. It might seem easy to come up with action steps, but they have to be customized for you, actions you know are within your realm of taking. Don’t list things that you know in your heart you won’t do.
For the next three weeks, schedule these action steps into your day.
Whatever the new habit and its action plan, work each step into your schedule for the month ahead. Most habits—even the very ugliest ones—can be completely re-patterned in this short time frame.
Start with one habit that you desperately want to change. Focus on the three immediate steps you have and put them into action. Do it now.
Remember, nothing will change until you do.
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