We’re half way through the year. How many of your New Year’s Resolutions are still on track? The problem with most of us is we try to kick habits without replacing them with healthy ones. The void left by the unhealthy habit gets filled with something. If we don’t replace it with a healthy habit, the old one returns, sometimes with a vengeance.
Whenever you set goals to stop something, always replace it with something else. The something else doesn’t need to be complicated or difficult, but it needs to be something. That’s why former smokers often fiddle with pens or pencils, hold them in their mouth, and tap them aimlessly on the table. These physical idiosyncrasies replace the physical habits formed while smoking. Without them, the cigarette finds its way between the fingers far too easily.
Psychiatrists tell us it generally takes 21 days of consistently doing the same thing to build a habit. That’s really not very long…except the 21 days you’re doing it. Just because of the way we’re built, it seems so easy to slip back into old patterns. Make notes to yourself and put them in places you’re sure to see them. Put reminders of your new habits in your calendar, on your bathroom mirror, on your refrigerator, on the steering wheel of your car, on your computer screen. Put them everywhere. Remind yourself every day for at least 21 days of the actions you’re taking and the benefits of the new habit you’re trying to build.
The three-week investment is worth the effort. People may think you’re a little crazy during the process as they see your sticky-notes pop up everywhere, but the new you revealed will show the value of the 21 day journey.
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