The secret to successfully changing habits:
Let’s face it, almost ALL of us want to change one habit or another, whether it’s to help us to lose weight, stop smoking, get fit, play an instrument or be more productive.
Often we’ll try to use good ol’ willpower to create or change a habit.
However the problem with willpower is that it’s a limited resource that actually depletes our glucose reserves. It’s like exercising a muscle; and it can get fatigued and loses energy the more we use it.
Ever noticed how after a few days on a diet you fall off the wagon in a spectacular (and carb laden) way? Or a few days into your new fitness regime, going to the gym seems like a Sisyphean task? It’s the willpower muscle finally buckling and giving way.
The truth is our brains are on a mission to conserve energy. A habit is like a well trodden path that’s easier to go follow. To stray from that habit uses up willpower, and therefore energy.
If we want to change a habit, we need lessen the need to rely on willpower as much as possible and make the new habit an easier option.
In his book, ‘The Happiness Advantage’ Sean Achor talks about lowering the amount of energy needed to change a habit, to make them easier to stick to.
The example that he uses is of playing the guitar. At first he has to go to the cupboard in the hall to get his guitar out before he can practise it. He noticed that he was hardly practising at all.
He discovered that by putting his guitar next to the sofa, where he could easily see it, pick it up to play it there and then, he massively increased the amount that he practised. Just the act of having it closer to hand lowered the amount of willpower he needed to create the new habit.
This works the same with other things; take eating junk food for for example. If you have junk food within easy reach, you’re going to be much for likely to eat it compared with if it’s locked away in a cupboard up high, or even sitting in the shop 10 minutes walk away.
Now I’m not saying that not having it in the house makes it impossible to eat it! Of course not! It’s just that the extra effort required to go to the shop, or reach up high into the cupboard, could be enough to make NOT eating the junk food an easier option.
Other examples include packing your gym clothes the night before to make it easier to work out, or getting an app (like Antisocial) on your computer to block social media between certain hours, making it harder to surf Facebook or Twitter at will.
Having systems in place to make things easier for you to change a habit could make all the difference.
I’d love to know one specific example of how you could use this in your life.
For information on hypnotherapy in Vancouver contact me at this phone number: 604 202 7938