Three Steps That Can Help You Change A Negative Habit
One of the things I have realized is that our daily habits form the basis of who we are. I believe that if a habit is negative then we reap negative consequences and if the habit is positive, it results in a better quality of life.
I also realized that people are different and as such, each person’s habits are likely to differ. Although there is not a specific formula for each individual as to how they can break negative habits and form new ones, some guidelines do apply across the board. In today’s article, I discuss three things to consider if one is to succeed in breaking a negative habit and forming a new positive habit.
Recognize The Habit You Wish To Change
Habits are behaviors that we practice on a regular basis. Often times, these behaviors are very difficult to give up. And, if it were possible to get what we want without giving up our negative habits, many of us might have chosen not to go through the trouble of changing. A person, therefore, gets the inspiration to change a habit because of the negative consequences of which results from such behavior.For example, the consequences of smoking, overspending, over eating, or over indulging in any thing can be considered bad habits due to the negative consequences.
The first thing you must do in changing a habit is to recognize that which you wish to change. For the sake of reference and your understanding, I will use this scenario. Let us say you have a behavior of spending money unwisely. Every time you are paid, you spend your money buying things that you do not need and at the end of the day you find yourself without money for the things that you need, such as paying your bills. Therefore, you recognized you have this habit and you wish to change it. Your next step is to develop a plan, which we will discuss under the next point.
Make A Plan As To How You Are Going To Replace The Old Habit
I know that changing habits are easier to say than do. However, if the old behavior is not serving you any good, then this should be the motivating factor behind your wish to change. Having recognized the behavior that you wish to change, your next step should be to make a plan. In the plan, you should strive to identify an opposite or a positive replacement for the negative behavior. You will also decide how you are going to implement this new habit so that it will become the habit of focus and allow you to drop the negative.
Remember the scenario in the first point is that you are spending your money on your wants instead of your needs. Now, in this step, your aim should reverse: that is, to spend your money first on the things you need. The question should then be, “What could I do to make sure that I spend my money on the things I need? The answer might be in making a monthly budget or a budget based on how often you are paid.
In making your budget you put all of the things you need on the budget, add them up and make sure that your earnings can cover all of that is on the list, as well as your monthly savings. Only after catering for your needs and monthly savings will you then cater to your wants. Therefore, instead of rushing to buy the latest phone, pants, shoes, or dress in town as you did when you did not make a budget you will now be using your budget as a guide to your spending. I refer you to this video for some tips on spending and saving.
Be Consistent In Practicing The New Habit
A habit, well ingrained, does not disappear without effort on your part. Therefore, even after recognizing the negative habit and finding a positive replacement, you must be consistent.
Because your natural tendency was to spend your money without making a budget, you will find you have an urge to continue doing so. And, this is where consistency comes in; instead of waiting until you get your pay in hand to make a budget, consider making the budget in advance so that on the day you collect your salary/ earnings, your budget will be with you.
As the temptation will be constant, make the effort to be consciously aware at all times. Ensure that you cater for your needs and savings as outlined in your budget before succumbing to the wants.
According to my research, it takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit. However, because you do may be getting paid once or twice monthly, my reasoning will be that you do this budget for at least 6 months without breaking. Hopefully, by the end of six months you would have dropped the old way of spending.
Bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow ~ Proverb
Final Word: Remember, this was just one example of how to break an old habit and form a new habit. In order to make these steps work for you, take the idea and apply it to your circumstances and whatever habit you need to change. Even after dropping the old habit, I urge you to continue practicing the new habit, for as the saying goes, “if you do not use it, you will lose it.”