Have you ever envied a friend or work colleague for always kicking goals at work, have loads of stamina and having awesome relationships?
‘Successful people who live with purpose break bad habits and replace them with new behaviours and achieve great things.’
Continuing habits and behaviours that don’t serve us, like eating processed foods, drinking too much alcohol and not doing any exercise contribute to negative self-talk that will affect our productivity levels at work, our relationships and our health.
Three things to help change behaviours:
- Have an epiphany – The Awareness Stage where you know something needs to change.
- Change your environment (work or home) The Direction Stage where we plan to avoid the triggers.
- Take baby steps – The Focus Stage where we repeat the new behaviour consistently.
It takes 35 days to create a new behaviour and for our brains to form new neural-pathways to re-train itself to a new behaviour.
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office quotes ‘A new study from MIT neuroscientists has found that a small region of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, where most thought and planning occurs, is responsible for moment-by-moment control of which habits are switched on at a given time.’
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We can achieve new habits and behaviours by firstly, acknowledging that we have a habit or behaviour we want to stop bad enough and that we’re ready to give it up. I call this the Awareness stage, a light bulb moment, an epiphany that makes us decide something needs to change. At this stage, we become aware of who it is affecting.
Secondly, set an achievable plan or strategy in place to change the behaviour. I call this the Direction stage where we need to change our environment to foster the new habit and omit triggers that feed the old habit.
Thirdly, take baby steps one day at a time, I call this the Focus stage where we stay on track and persist until the old habit no longer takes over the prefrontal cortex of the brain anymore.
The new habit must be a significantly ‘feel good’ experience than our old habit or we just won’t stick to it. Replacing our experience of pleasure with a stronger feeling of pleasure. For example, if trying to kick a smoking habit, the replacement behaviour needs to be something that makes us feel better than the feeling of having a cigarette. It may be something like yoga, running, massages, sport or dancing.
Something that stimulates all the senses so our brains stop thinking about continuing the old habit.
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The new habit will stimulate endorphins, oxytocin and increase serotonin levels that are our body’s natural ‘high’ drug and responsible for making us feel good. This feeling cultivates a positive mindset that will help us continue the new habit instead of the old habit.
When practicing a new habit and behaviour we need to remove the triggers that bring on the old habit.
When we replace an old habit with a new one, we feel in control, a sense of achievement and freedom. In this mindset, all things are possible, which affects our stamina and productivity. From this place we feel true happiness which attracts awesome relationships around us every day.
Just start with one small step then build on it. Small baby steps one day at a time make the long walk worthwhile.
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