“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” ―Sean Covey
So you do it all, you workout daily, read, meditate, listen to the latest TEDx thought leader discussing how to be a better you… And yet, you're still groggy, depressed, and trapped on the hamster wheel seemingly getting nowhere. (Maybe you don’t do any of these things, this might still be super relevant)
Why? This is a question I had to ask myself. After years of discipline and grit, chasing success with very little progress enough was enough. I would take 3 steps forward, and then, boom, I'm knocked back 2 pegs, I can’t wake up on time, I’m back to my old self, and I’m back to square one.
It's really easy for us to look for the fixes.
My go-to for fixing situations was searching for “solutions”. That, usually consisted of not actually addressing the problems but rather it just filled my day with more Chaos.
Instead of cleaning up the rooms in my home, I would try to build additional rooms, overextending what I already had until catastrophe.
I don't know if this sounds familiar, but a problem a lot of us have is exactly this. We don't want to look inside our own house for the solutions to our own problems, It hurts actually, to admit to yourself that the way you have been doing things may be wrong or no longer suit you.
We need to come to grips that in order to have change, we need to make changes. This is not addition, as many of us gravitate towards, but subtraction. What things can we eliminate from our lives that arent suiting us? What things are robbing us of our right to be great?
1. Know your Schedule.
Your brain naturally doesn't want to do anything, its lazy, its constantly searching for the shortest path to conserving energy, If it doesn't know what to do, its going to default to the “feel goods”, which really arent as much feel goods as they are addictive time wasters.
Having a schedule is extremely important for eliminating the bad habits that seem to be riddled throughout it. If you don’t tell your brain what it is suppose to do, it will make that decision for you.
2. List out your bad habits.
Don’t worry about eliminating all of your bad habits at once, its a sure-fire way to failure. Sure it sounds good “Just stop doing the bad shit”, but in reality it’s not that simple. A lot of bad habits have deeper roots that will need to be explored and understood over time.
3. Ask yourself, Why am I doing this?
This has to be the first question you ask yourself about the bad habits you are trying to get rid of. It's important to know what the root of the problem is. Is this something that you actually want to change? or is it something that you can change/stop without changing or stopping something else?
- Is this making me happy?
- Am I avoiding something right now?
- What was I doing prior to this?
- What do I have to do after?
- If I do this for the rest of my life, will it make me a better or happier person?
- Does this affect anyone else?
- Does This Align With My Values?
Give your habits the acknowledgement, know what they are, and really try to understand the reasoning behind them.
4. The Opposite of “Emulate Success”
A Powerful technique that works for me is to watch people that I don't want to be like and look for similarities, when I recognize one, I make a note and ask myself if that things is contributing to my success or is it dead weight… Possibly a toxic way of looking at things, but its effective.
5. Measure the Cost
If I Am Saying Yes to This, What Am I Saying No To? — Steve Jobs
What is the cost of this habit or these habits? If I stopped stress eating, what would my life look like? If I didnt look at my emails until 5pm daily, would the world keep going, would I get more accomplished… Or my personal favorite, If I did this everyday for 10yrs, what would the effects be?
Understand the possible pain or loss of the future… We all have so much capability, I don't want a bad habit being the reason why I cant send my kids to college or I don't reach my potential level of excellence.
6. Be good to yourself
For the love of God, don’t beat yourself up over failure, that's a one way ticket to giving up on yourself and its incredibly toxic. Its ok to fall off the horse, It would actually be pretty remarkable if you didnt… Really, imagine if things just worked all the time… Fuck, I would be successful!…
Anyways, don’t beat yourself up over nonsense, these are your own standards, no one else really cares. We are running a marathon, its ok to take a water break.
Dropping habits is extremely hard. Don’t expect that Hollywood burst of motivation to change your life, its not coming. Movement is the key, just keep pushing forward and generally things will be alright, and if they're not, ask for help. If there is anything that helped you drop a nasty habit, throw it down below.