Ever tried changing a habit?
Maybe you've failed, maybe you've succeeded.
Creating and changing habits can be difficult.
Even overwhelming at times.
When we think about habits, there is often a built-in expectation that life as we know it will change, forever.
As a result, creating a habit may take an extreme toll on willpower. Imagine the stress just thinking about what we now must do every day going forward Or worse, maybe we are trying to give something up...
"Can I never again have a chocolate chip cookie?!?"
What does successful habit change boil down to?
Our life consists of moments.
Moments stringed together into time as we experience it. The good news is that, in every moment, we can make a choice.
If we think of our entire timeline of moments right now? Then obviously, change becomes scary.
"I need to resist cookies in every moment for the rest of my life??" vs. "Every moment I can make a new choice of putting healthy foods in my body."
All choices are base in either love or fear. If we are completely present, it is very difficult to experience fear.
And when we let go of controlling the outcome of habit change - everything shifts.
Making a conscious decision in every moment then makes the idea of creating a new habit less scary.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” ― Lao Tzu
What are some habits you can change?
- Drink more water every day
- Take a morning walk
- Meditate 10 min in the mornings
- Play at least 10 minutes every day
Most of these events are actually quite pleasant to follow through with. I.e. we are not aspiring to swallow knives or kill cute kittens..
What is usually tough is getting started, or simply getting to it at all.
So how do we change habits consciously?
At any given moment, we can make a new decision.
Let's say you do not want to eat sugar. You crave a candy. You give up, you eat one. This does not mean, ten pieces need to follow that.
We make choices by letting go. By becoming conscious, aware and present.
Three great tools that can help you on your way
#1: One fun option is the SuperBetter app which serves to make habit change a lot more fun. Gamification is key in this game. The whole concept is built around a book by Jane McGonigal and involves gamifying your day.
This means: setting up your secret identity, creating and doing quests, finding allies (get help and support from friends), activating power-ups (drink a glass of water, call a friend) and battling bad guys...
It's a smart, and very fun, way to bring change into your life.
#2: Coach.me is another great option.
You can join groups of people working on creating a new habit. You get a community of people joining the same cause, and can even hire a coach to assist you in achieving your goal.
#3: Momentum Habit Tracker is a clean tool for ios and Mac based on the "don't break the chain" philosophy.
When we have accomplished a habit for some time, we have more at stake in not following through. In this case, when we fill out a calendar with an "X", we will get a chain that we are less and less willing to break.
One good decision can empower the rest of your day.
Stay focused on the here and now, get help with these tools and start experimenting.