How many times have you tried to change a habit? It’s not the easiest thing to do.
In fact, it can take up to 90 days of doing the same thing every day for a new behaviour to form. Why are habits so hard to change? Mostly it’s because the approach we take is rather harsh and judgmental.
Generally speaking, people know what habits they have and which ones need changing but when it comes to changing them they often keep trying without much success. Losing weight is a good example of this: dieting to lose weight only to put it back on sooner or later.
When we try to change a habit but ‘fail’ we feel disappointed and judge ourselves for failing. This is how we keep the cycle of habit going. It’s the harshness of judgment, the high expectations and negativity that strengthens the very habit we are trying to change. The more we judge it and think about it as bad and unhealthy the more reinforcement and strenght we give it. So to help you get started on changing a habit considers the kind of relationship you have with that habit. Do you hate or dislike your habit? If so, firstly start by acknowledging the habit you have and consider how it has served you thus far. For example, maybe keeping weight on has made others keep their distance and therefore prevented you from getting hurt. Then, if you are ready for the next step consider how a new behaviour could benefit you and bring good things into your life.
Acknowledge that it may take time and some effort to change but trust that you will change the habit. Give yourself some respect and honour yourself on this process of change. And if it doesn’t happen the first time, acknowledge and accept responsibility and give yourself the courage and permission to keep trying without labeling yourself as a failure for not succeeding. This will not just help you change the habit but also build self-worth.
The most important thing to remember is that you are trying to accept the habit and forgive yourself for having the habit before you can let it go. You want to be able to close the door fully before you open another one.