By Carolyn Landesman
You might beat yourself for yet another failed attempt at changing your habits. Instinctively you know these 5 habits are undermining your ability to get ahead, achieve your goals and realize a different future. If this is you, remember you are not the only one who struggles with these bad habits.
The following 5 bad habits account for more failures than any other habits you have except for drug and alcohol addiction. The good news is, there is a solution for turning bad habits into good habits that will see you succeed at almost anything you choose to do in life.
Before you can successfully change your habits, it helps to understand what specific habits are holding you back.
1. Juggling your time poorly
Ever had that feeling when you are struggling with time, or lack of it? You feel there is so much to do and not enough time to get everything done. Career, business, home ownership (argh… yard work, housework), kids, friends, family along with other responsibilities not to mention what you would rather do like relax, exercise, have fun and just enjoy a moment or two.
Sometimes you are busy with just…. well, you know – busy work. At the end of the day (or week) you feel like you accomplished nothing. Everything becomes a priority. Everything becomes urgent and with urgency comes massive stress.
You take a time-management course and promise yourself you will organize your time more effectively. You start out strong and after a short period of time, your time management plans fall apart and before you know it, you are back to your old habits where time manages you instead of you managing your time effectively.
2. You procrastinate
Of course, when time management goes haywire, you then tend to procrastinate. It all becomes so overwhelming you end not doing anything at all. You know what you should be doing, but…. you struggle to get started. You tell yourself, “I’ll wake up early tomorrow and get his done!” Best intentions, then reality strikes. The alarm goes off and you push the snooze button. When you do wake fully, your brain become a fog… “What was it I was going to do again?”
You make plans to exercise before or after work. Sleeping through the alarm you don’t have time for now you are late for work. You end up telling yourself “I’ll start tomorrow.” Tomorrow comes, it’s the end of the day and you’re too exhausted to turn TV off and too lazy to move off the sofa. And the pattern repeats itself day after day.
Procrastination slowly creeps into all aspects of your life. You’re just not motivated. Every day you say to yourself “I’ll do tomorrow.” You find yourself waiting for inspiration and motivation which never arrives. The procrastination cycle repeats itself forming a bad habit of perpetual procrastination.
3. You give into temptation
You know your habits are holding you back and you promise to change. You are committed to changing your bad habits. You know with change comes a bright new future where you see yourself living your dreams of the future (for a nano second!) and you give in to temptation to not change because changing is hard. It takes work. It can be painful.
When it comes to making a real change, you fail to act, and give in to your old habits. Therefore, nothing changes.
4. You stop believing in yourself
Naturally the next step is you feel overwhelmed and begin to believe this is your future. A future where nothing changes and eventually you stop believing in your personal power to change. You begin to feel stuck. You find yourself unable to break the destructive patterns of bad habits.
You get inspired and motivated feeling that this time you will succeed, only to be let down again with a lack of self-belief.
5. You over-plan and under deliver
You hype yourself up and put this amazing plan in place that can’t fail.
Even if you do find the inspiration and motivation for change, you see only tiny incremental improvements. Because the improvements are so small, it fails to uplift you and keep you motivated therefore you become bored believing this is ridiculous, all this work for so little return. You fail to follow through with your plan.
Your motivation fades, you become bored with a lack of progress and look for a new way to create good habits – one that doesn’t require a lot of work. Yet, you expect massive results. You want a quick fix remedy. Therefore, you try something new, something easier, something that eventually leads you right back into reliving your old bad habits.
Sound at all familiar? If so you are not alone.
The problem is not you – the problem is your strategy.
Creating good habits requires three things. The Why – The What and The How
Imagine you are sitting in a train called The Destiny Train at a station called Mediocrity. However you want something better for your life.
Like any train before it pulls out of the station, you need to know what your destination is. Let’s say you live in the country and your destination is major city 200 miles away called Success. The front of the train lights up and in the headlights are the words VISION. Now you have a destination and a purpose.
For habits to become life changing, you must have a clear vision of what your future looks like. This becomes your WHY. Your WHY to get out of bed early in the morning when it’s cold and dark. Your WHY to stop procrastinating and take affirmative action towards achieving your goals. Your WHY to make good choices. Your WHY to not give into temptation and fall back into your old habits. Your WHY to keep believing in yourself and your WHY to stay motivated, not become bored and look for a new quick fix remedy.
Everyone has a bad day from time to time where everything seems to go wrong. Everyone has moments when things don’t go to plan. Everyone has days where you are faced with challenges that test your resolve. Everyone faces adversity at some time in their life. What gets you through these moments in time is your WHY.
Your WHY is your ultimate dream or VISION for the future.
Your VISION is the driving force and engine room of all achievement and it needs to be so powerful that it will inspire you to keep going when the going gets tough and inspire you to never quit.
With your vision clearly in front of the train, sitting in the engine room are you and your values. Yes you. You are the Master of your Fate and the Captain of your Soul. Your values along with your vision are your guiding light in every decision you make. They are your moral compass that keep you on track where you persevere until you reach your destination.
Your values are long-lasting beliefs, ideals, and qualities you see in others and yourself that are important to you. They have a major influence on your behavior and decision-making process. When your values are not aligned with your inner beliefs, significant others or your work environment – it becomes a major cause of anguish guilt and conflict.
If you value people and your boss doesn’t, this causes a major conflict in the workplace. You become resentful towards your boss and your motivation to do a good job begins to slide.
If you value family life yet you work 80 hours a week and are never home, this causes conflict in your personal life and a likely breakdown in relationships.
To make good choices that support your WHY, your values must always be aligned and determine your decision-making process. Your values must support your vision for the future if you are to realize your vision.
To succeed in life, you don’t need the right conditions; you need the right fuel to keep you going. Just as a steam train needs fuel to convert water into steam your goals are the fuel you need to keep going and stay on track. In this analogy – your goals are the fuel you need to light the furnace of desire and keep you motivated on your pathway to success and help you navigate the inevitable challenges that will come your way.
Your goals are the HOW you are going to achieve your vision. Your goals must be tied back to your VISION (your WHY), and your VALUES.
Your goals are your personal road map to success. They tell you what to do and when. This is HOW you create a change in habits to support your VISION for the future.
The problem for most people is that they start with goals and have no vision for the future. What is missing is the engine. The engine is what drives your destiny train – it’s your WHY. Your WHY is what motivates you, your values are what determine your choices and your goals the fuel you need to keep you inspired and turn bad habits into good habits.
In isolation Goals alone are not enough to motivate you to navigate the challenges that will come your way. Goals alone while they are an important component of success, without a VISION it’s like trying to drive a train without an engine.
Not having a vision supported by values is why you don’t manage your time and focus on what is important. This is why you procrastinate, give into temptation and stop believing in yourself. With no engine to drive you forward, you will stagnate and remain at the station of mediocrity.
The Why, What and How are the secret to changing bad habits into good habits.
In a Nutshell
The five bad habits that hold you back are:
- Juggling your time poorly and becoming overwhelmed with the tyranny of the urgent which causes massive stress.
- Procrastinating. You know what you should do but you don’t do it.
- You give into temptation because it’s too hard to change your habits.
- You stop believing in yourself and believe you can’t change your habits.
- You over-plan and under-deliver. You have good intentions but you fail to follow through.
Creating new habits that serve you well, requires three things: The WHY, The WHAT and The HOW.
- The WHY is to create a powerful VISION for the future that keeps you motivated to keep going when times are tough.
- The WHAT are are your VALUES – they are your guiding light and moral compass in every decision you make.
- The HOW are your goals. Your goals are the fuel to keep the furnace of desire burning bright inside you and keep you on track.
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On a final note
When you create a vision for the future, this will keep you inspired to change poor habits into good habits that support your vision, values and goals.