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Changing A Self-Sabotaging Habit

We all adopt habits as we grow up. Sometimes, we develop habits that hurt us or hinder us more than help us. They can be difficult to change, because they are habits. Thankfully, some people studied habits, how they form and how we can change them.

If you want to change a habit, I suggest you read Changing Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. In their book, they identify six key factors in the formation (or reformation) of habits.

The first factor is your own motivation. If you aren’t committed to changing your behavior, then it is not likely that you will succeed. Of course, just because you don’t succeed, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t motivated. The only way to know you’re motivated is to know your feelings and spend time paying attention to how you feel during the process of changing your habit.

The second factor is your own knowledge or ability to know what to do. This can take time, which is partly why motivation is key. As I mentioned in my previous two posts, learning takes time, and we may have to maintain confidence as we try different ways to address a problem or change a habit.

The third factor is other people’s motivation. If the people around you aren’t motivated to make sure you succeed in changing your habit, they may sabotage you. At the very least, they may not help you even if they don’t hinder you. If you can pay close attention to who around you makes it harder to change, you may need to distance yourself from them and perhaps find other people who will support you.

The fourth factor is other people’s knowledge or ability to help you. They may care about you, but they may not know what you need. If you can look out for ways they can support you and talk with them about what you need, they can propel you forward into a new habit faster.

The fifth factor is how your circumstances affect your motivation. You may frequent places or have a schedule that makes it difficult to change your behavior. If you can pay attention to how you feel throughout the day or week, you might notice when you’re more vulnerable to falling into old, bad habits. You may also notice that places you go provoke your bad habits, so you may need to find new places to go that encourage the good habit.

The sixth factor is how circumstances help or hinder your ability to change a habit. This mostly refers to changing what is available to you wherever you are, especially when you are more likely to fall back into a bad habit. Rearranging what you keep nearby is how your circumstances can help you reduce an old habit and support a new habit.

The book goes into a lot more detail about different examples of how people changed their lives using the system. I’ve applied it in my own life, and it’s been great. I hope you are able to make the changes you want in your life.

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