Let's face it - we all have habits- some good, some not so good- but it's the not so good ones that often become an addiction or lifestyle choice that we'd rather kick!
The reality is - the only work because we've taken the time to nurture them repeatedly and followed the same process repeatedly too.
The 3 C's to forming a habit are Coaxing, Copying and Clapping.
We start off with this initial hesitation to forming the habit. We'll either have a moment of hesitating before we do it i.e. before we buy that packet of cigarettes or that new expensive thing - and then we begin to tell ourselves the lies! Oh it's ok, I'll just have on" or "I've been good I deserve a treat".
In some cases the lies come after the act- we were so swept up in the moment - that its afterwards, after that initial exhilaration begins to calm... a momentary panic, a pang of guilt and then the lies..." oh its not that bad! it was just one night, one pair, one....whatever". Then the "just one" becomes "just two" and so on.
We Coax ourselves:
We tell ourselves allsorts to justify the act- "it was because I was stressed out" - or "I work hard, I should be able to treat myself".
We repeat this process over and over... using friends, stress, treating ourselves, working hard, being tired etc - all as a mean to coax ourselves into it- and then we just keep copying the process over and over.
What would be the point of the habit if we weren't being rewarded? - We clap and applaud ourselves mentally with our habit.
"Ahhhhh I feel better now" or a regular favourite "Ohhh I needed that"...
Then, we look at that empty ice cream tub, cigarette box, wine bottle, wardrobe (......I could go on)
and then what do we do? - Start all over again with the coaxing!
And like magic- there we are with our new guilty little habit!
So we have to follow the exact same process in order to KICK the habit.
Coax ourselves into - not doing the previous habit AND coax into a new one instead.
Go for a quick walk or stretch outside instead of smoking. Put the money that you would have spent on that expensive thing into a savings account. Buy a health supplement or healthier drink instead of that bottle of wine.
Coax deeper by reminding yourself of the end goal: to be healthier, wealthier, not gain weight, get sick, go broke etc.
Copy- keep reminding your self of the process you'd done prior- and repeat! If it worked once it will work again. Learn from the times it didn't work too!
We're so good at pretending to ourselves "Oh I'll go out with them but I wont have anything to drink" or "I'm strong enough not to....." Be aware of the lie you told yourself before and dont fall for it this time!
Clap for Yourself! - congratulate yourself every time you've managed to do well! - Make a note in your journal- show off to friends and family, look for the rewards such as having more savings having lost a few pounds, feeling more energetic etc and enjoy your work paying off!
Here's the Reality Check!
We're human- not robots! - We will slip up sometimes. There's going to be that odd time when it just didn't happen.
Often there's been an unexpected thing, extra stress, change in routine and Oops! - It Happens and that's ok - or as one of my coaches says - "so what- move on!" It's served as information - we're not perfect but at least we can look back and figure out why this particular slip-up happened and avoid repeating it the next time.
Which frankly is better than a full meltdown and the "Well I've slipped up now, I may as well carry on" heading right the way backward only to regret it later.
Rather than seeing it as some labour intense thing we have to do - we can welcome it by looking at the gains and freedoms that come with it - time, money etc.
Change 1 thing, One Step, One Day at a time and before you know it- the magic has happened!
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen