When it comes to New Year Resolutions, we tend to change our entire life, setting lots of goals simultaneously. As time goes by, we become overwhelmed with other commitments, get totally lost, confused, feel like a failure, and finally are back to our previous routine. Multitasking is a very rare exclusion. The vast majority of people can not perform several tasks simultaneously. But, focusing just on ONE issue and changing just ONE bad habit, makes you a winner and YES, will significantly improve your entire life.
One of the researchers by Duke University stated that more than 40% of the daily people’s actions are not decisions, but just habits. This means that if the habit exists, the brain does not fully participate in making a decision anymore. It passes that role to a habit. The decision-making process at that point is gone, and we perform actions automatically.
Developing a new habit is not rocket science. It just requires persistence and some basic knowledge of how it works. The “secret” is in using a replacement strategy rather than deleting.
A habit cannot be eradicated, it must be REPLACED.
Our brain is like a very advanced computer. If you don’t want to keep a harmful application on your computer, you can delete it. But what is next? Since you still need to perform certain functions using that sort of application, you install a new, BETTER application, right? The application which is more user-friendly, which brings you feelings of joy and satisfaction instead of the previously troubled one.
The brain also CAN be reprogrammed. It doesn’t mean that it is easily accomplished. Permanent change requires some work, commitment, and self-discovery.
Don’t start changing several habits simultaneously. Choose only one bad habit and focus on it. Even if you are not clear what exactly to do, start to examine and to evaluate the causes of your habit. Recall how it existed, when and why you developed it, what kind of feeling it brings you. Then, think about the better options.
For example, if you want to get rid of your addiction to sugar, study your habits to understand:
- WHY and WHEN did I become addicted to sugar?
- WHY do I still use it?
- WHY do I keep sweet snacks at home (office, desk, purse)
- WHY do I hang around people who keep stacks of chips and crackers rather than apples and carrots?
- HOW do I feel before and after my sweet treats?
- HOW do I feel if I don’t eat sweets?