I often meet people who want to change their habits and can’t do it. It’s actually not that difficult. A prerequisite is of course that you really want it. You have probably heard that before and of course it doesn’t help if you just want something. You also have to do something to change your habits.
This is exactly what I want to help you with today by telling you a trick that I also describe in my book Become a bastard killer and that I have already used successfully with numerous clients in my coaching. I myself have had very good experiences with it myself.
But first we should clarify a basic requirement, without which even the best method will not lead you to your goal:
Do you really want to change your habits?
You will probably think something like “Yes of course, why else would I read this article?” But I have actually met many people who have kept talking about wanting to change something in their life or in their habits. Many say they want to build muscle , lose weight quickly, quit smoking or just get sportier . In reality, the will to really get used to something is no longer so great on closer inspection. There can be various reasons for this. Some common ones are:
- It is real addictive behavior
- You have strong secondary gains from your current behavior (e.g. attention)
- You don’t have a real target that attracts you
- Your why is not clear to you
In the first case, I recommend that you seek professional help. The tips in my blog articles are not suitable for such situations.
In the other cases it makes sense to deal with yourself and get to the bottom of things. If you don’t have a real goal yet, I can recommend articles that can help you find goals and formulate goals .
However, if you have a goal and you are sure that you really want to break something or change a bad habit, here is a simple principle that you can use to make it easier for you.
Change habits – exchange habits
The technique explained below is about swapping a bad habit that you want to break with a good one or at least a significantly better one. For this reason I have already liked to refer to it as a habit-swapping technique.
The problem: Your brain accepts it with difficulty when you take something away from it
But why not just stop doing something bad or even harmful? Can’t you just say you leave something to be forever overnight? With enough willpower it should be possible, shouldn’t it?
In fact, that can break sometimes, but it takes a fair amount of discipline and willpower. Personally, I believe that this is neither necessary nor useful. To be honest, I even think that most of the supposedly particularly strong-willed and disciplined people, at least subconsciously, also carry out an exchange. You will soon understand why this is so.
The reason why many people find it difficult to get used to things or to stop doing something is that the subconscious is missing something at this point. The fact is that our brain works so efficiently because it relies permanently on known structures and patterns. If such a structure is now completely eliminated and without replacement, all of the processes based on it will be thrown overboard. Your subconscious will defend itself with hand and foot against such a gap. You can use that for yourself.
Solution: change habits through exchange
If you give your brain something that can take the place of the old, bad habit that you want to part with, then you have to expect significantly less resistance from your inner weaker self. So choose a new habit that you want to replace your old one with. Whenever you would pursue your old habit or an old behavior pattern triggers you, then you can deliberately and consistently pursue your new, positive activity.
In principle, the procedure for replacing is similar to always when you want to create new, good habits . Do it consistently for at least 30 days and your new, better habit should be stable enough that it will be much easier for you to stick with it.
Important: meet similar needs
You may be thinking “It can’t be that simple” and that’s right. The habit swapping technique really doesn’t work with every pair of habits. The new habit must at least satisfy similar needs and at the same time fit well into the gap that your old habit has left.
At that time, for example, I could not exchange my bad habit of eating a large XL granola bar every afternoon for the desirable habit of drinking a large glass of water. That would of course have been the best for my last diet, but it wasn’t realistic for me as a stress eater . A protein bar as a replacement, however, worked very well for me. Later I replaced it with a piece of fruit ( Fruit is recommended in the diet anyway ).
The new habit will never feel as appropriate in the beginning as the old one. However, after a few days you should notice how the link is getting stronger. The new action is always easier for you. The better it fits into the gap created for you, the faster it will establish itself.
Swap a bad habit for a good one
Now that you know the best way to change your habits, I advise you to give it a try. Don’t wait long and put it off in front of you. If there is a habit you want to break away from, think about how and by what to replace it now. Now just do that next time and notice how it feels. If it fits, then pull it through for at least 30 days and notice how a new, better habit is establishing itself in your subconscious.
Remember: Focus is your superpower , so change one thing at a time and don’t try to do it all at once. Taking one step at a time helps you sustainably increase your stamina and ultimately achieve your goals .
I wish you every success!
By the way: Changing your habits little by little is only one small building block if you want to achieve your goals. You can find an effective and proven structure that helps you to do the right things in the right order in my book Become a bastard killer . The 7-step system described in it picks you up where you are and helps you to build up the structures you need to achieve your goals. It has already helped hundreds of people achieve their goals.