If you are jumping into this blog now (If you would like to catch up- quitting cold-turkey? part 1), I last talked about my thoughts on quitting cold-turkey (focusing on over eating sweets, but you could add your bad habit in there it is still the same). Again, I want to stress my main point that there are many different ways for an individual to reach their goal. I am not saying one is better than the other just that if the want and belief are aligned to your true inner self, your utmost perfection as you were created, anything is possible. So, if you need to take it step by step such as staying smoke free for an hour at a time, or you are ready to replace that habit altogether these next principles will help give you more insight from the 1st blog to continue on your journey of creating the life you desire.
There are three points that I consider to be the heart of the matter when we are engaged in trying to break a bad habit and replace it with a new one.
• Awareness- The most important thing I can teach anyone is the power of consciousness … awareness of what is going on inside us as well as around us. There is never “nothing going on.” Yet we are so prone to operate on “automatic pilot” that often we are simply unaware of things occurring internally or externally. We are continually receiving both types of signals, and we use this information either to build ourselves up or to break ourselves down. The more aware we become of these messages, the better able we are to use the power of our consciousness to create the reality we are seeking. This doesn’t mean you have to tediously analyze your every thought and action. It simply means developing the habit of realizing that your thoughts and actions are so intimately connected that it is important to stay “in touch” with them in order to accomplish the outcomes you truly desire and to avoid the consequences you don’t desire. If we look at this idea in relation to eating sweets, it takes us back to that pain and pleasure principle we talked about earlier. The more consciously aware you are, the easier it will be to remember why you originally decided that changing this habit will give you pleasure and continuing it will give you pain!.
• Identity- Another idea that’s critical to consider as we attempt any big change is the way we define ourselves or, to put it another way, the labels we put upon ourselves. Though this may seem hard to believe, the way we perceive ourselves and the things we tell ourselves (consciously or subconsciously) powerfully affect who we become and what we ultimately achieve. Or put simply what is the story we are telling about who we are. Often the reason a smoker or an overeater, for example, may come back to their bad habit (perhaps even after discontinuing it for awhile) is that they still identify themselves as a smoker or an overeater, though they may not be consciously aware of it! A whispering inner voice may be repeating, “Once a smoker, once an over eater … I WILL always be one.” That’s why it’s absolutely necessary to become aware of self-imposed labels you attach to your identity and to make sure they correspond to the truth of who you truly are and what you’re trying to accomplish as this “real you.” And the new story you can begin telling might sound something like this “that is who I used to be, but this is who I am now.” Telling a new story with your identity labels is when you begin to have victory over obstacles that have been holding you back.
• Visualization- I believe the main reason that many of us do not achieve the things we want out of life is a result of our inability to focus correctly. Instead of focusing on what we want — on the habit we’re trying to create — we unconsciously (without “awareness”) focus on what we don’t want – the habit we’re trying to break. And, secondarily, we may not know how to focus. It is vitally important to sustain a mental picture of ourselves reaching our goal. A lot of people do not reach their “destination” because they don’t clearly picture it … they essentially don’t have a map which highlights the arrival point! The more you can train and discipline your mind to visualize yourself at your destination point, the easier it will be for you actually to get there. I remember reading about a study focusing on how the mind processes thoughts and images. This study found that the brain cannot discriminate between a mental image created by seeing an actual physical picture, such as a photograph, and one created by imagining a picture within your mind. Our brains recognize them both as equally “real” and equally powerful! So the clearer and more sustained the mental image, the easier it will be for your mind to help you achieve this vision. Though this may sound far-fetched, I truly believe that anything created in this world must first be envisioned by the mind. This process begins with knowing what you want, then seeing it as an accomplished result, and finally believing it is possible. The ability to clearly and continually visualize is a major key to our success in changing a bad habit.
It might seem like I dodged the question of quitting cold turkey. However, it is my belief that there are different solutions for each individual. Some can quit and never look back (while that is the hardest option for most), but others need to break it down step by step or hour by hour. In this three part series it will not be about me telling you what you need to do, but helping you to understand that whatever you believe possible is and will be achievable. The hardest part of gaining ground towards a goal is the mental playing field. I also believe strongly in focusing on the positive. So while I’ve been talking so far in terms of “stopping” or “breaking” a bad habit, I think it’s much more effective to think in terms of “replacing” it with something positive.
I plan to talk more about preparation, indulgences and replacing in the last part of this blog to help you bring it all together. In the meantime, let me know what you think. Do you have a story about a bad habit you’ve overcome (or replaced) or maybe even are still having difficulty with? I’d love to hear your ideas on this topic as well!
Share your amazingness with the world! PUT YOUR BEST LIFE FORWARD!!!
-If you like what you’ve read and would like to see how a Strong Within life coach can help you map out your dreams towards reality and get unstuck in your life email me email@example.com to setup a time for a free 15-30 minute life coaching session to help you evaluate who you are and who we are as we help you put your best life forward.
© 2011 Chris O’Hearn all rights reserved