On the one hand we despise change yet on the other we don’t want to stagnate and become boring. Yet our habits keep us locked into a course of action day after day, year after year. The way we think, the way we behave, the way we experience things, the way we react to incidents, all are dominated by our habits. They are so strong that most do not even know what they are. Whatever our habits are, they keep us fixed in a particular perspective or behaviour. They stop us reaching our potential.
Our habits are basically involuntary acts we perform unintentionally and without thinking. We just are them. Yes. We are our habits. Whether, you lack confidence, find it difficult to make decisions, always arrive late for an appointment, can’t say no …, feel lonely, feel stupid, think others always know best…… These are all habits. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that you can change. Change is based on choice. Once you realise what your habits are, you have more chance of changing them. It may not be easy. It may be painful, sometimes. But it is also fun and rewarding because you are changing your life. You are opening yourself to see the possibilities of your potential. What you are capable of.
History shows us that there are four key ingredients to successfully change habits:
Reflection, Realisation, Resolve and Sustained Effort.
In other words all you have to do is imagine you are the gardener of your life:
Reflect on the state of your garden.
Realise what are weeds and what are flowers.
Remove the weeds
Replace the weeds with flowers and make a sustained effort to keep the garden clear of weeds you don’t want.
What is the largest weed in your garden? Which habit causes you the most pain?
What is keeping this weed in place? What stops you from pulling it out?
Look at all the obstacles and think of the best method for eradicating the weed. Remember some weeds do not come out at first pull. They leave a little root behind. Some are better killed off with weed killer rather than a tortuous pull. Look for the best method for your weed.
Now, what flower would you like to plant in its place? What behaviour would you like to put in instead of the habit? You will need something because all of us that have changed habits are aware of the need for transitory behaviour. A good example is giving up smoking. The transitory behaviour is either: something to do with your hands, instead of holding a cigarette; gum to chew when you would light a cigarette or a sweet to pop into your mouth when you feel like a cigarette.
So what flower would you like to put in place of your weed?
The next phase is the key to success.
For all gardeners the next phase is the most easy and yet the most difficult. Make a sustained effort to keep the weed out of your garden. This is the key. It is so easy to say I’ve done it and walk away. Sustained effort can also be called zeal and enthusiasm. Be passionate about clearing your weed. Tell others what you are doing. Avoid incidents that would automatically set the weed off. Keep looking at your new flower. Have zeal and enthusiasm for your new flower. Keep focused on the flower. Make a sustained effort to keep the new flower watered and the area around it free from weeds. Nourish it. Fertilise it. Talk to it.
Gradually the new flower will blossom and the old weed will disappear.