Habits are hard to change
Fill in the blank: I know I should do ______, but I just can’t seem to stick to it.
I’m sure most people could jam up a long list of things to fit that sentence. Maybe its exercise, eating right, getting more sleep or even letting go of sprite zero in my case.
For cases like these, I’ve found out of all the different techniques to change habits, the vast majority fall into two categories. If you struggle with making a good habit or eliminating a bad one, you can try one of these two.
Tactic #1: Make the Habit Easier
Sometimes the habit is simply too overpowering. Running for an hour every day when you haven’t exercised in eight months is a recipe for exhaustion.
The solution to this is to make the habit easier. Reduce the complexity. Make it simple and take it step by step. A friend of mine struggled with a gym habit until he took this step. His solution? Make the initial habit simply touching the door of the gym he went to. He didn’t actually have to work out. Although this isn’t the complete habit he wanted, he could establish this habit and then build a later one of actually going to the gym, or doing a specific workout.
And for my usual habit of having Sprite zero instead of any sort of edible fluid (I had almost zero intake of water yea I don’t know how I’m still alive!) I decided one day that I would start having water with meals(more than half an hour before). So steadily I ended up filling my belly with water and food at every meal time and that yearning of the frizzy drink gradually faded away and now I only have it when I’m dining out or when I’m really craving for it.
Tactic #2: Devote More Focus in the Habit
In this case you can generate more focus for the particular habit. Make one and only one change your complete priority for a certain period of time. If you’re thinking about starting several habits, reduce it to just one and set your mind on that.
For me reducing my frizzy drink intake meant for me to focus more on having water which in the long run has a thousand times more benefits than the drink. So I would usually just start sipping water with sliced lemons and cucumbers dipped it in (which by the way is a fantastic detox drink in itself just add a few slices of ginger too) whenever I thought I would want to have a drink or feel the urge. This gradually helped me let go of it.
This was a strategy I used a lot in my beginning time setting habits. I would use the thirty-day trial method, with the requirement that I would only focus on one trial at a time. Discipline varies from person to person and can improve with training, but if you focus all your effort on only one habit, you can tackle much more difficult habits for one thirty day chunk.