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Monday, January 5, 2009

Kicking the Habit

Everyone has at least one bad habit. It can be something annoying like biting our nails, smoking, smacking our gum, or something not so noticeable like constantly licking our lips before talking or checking the front door 12 times before bed even though we know it’s locked. Not everyone may think the habit is “bad“, but to oneself it may be a constant source of tension or self consciousness.

Whatever the case may be, there comes a point in time where we all promise ourselves we are going to “kick the habit“. But we have to remember that habits are formed over time, and we can’t necessarily get rid of them overnight. It takes at least 21 days of repetition for a habit to form. So reversing that, it should take no longer than 21 days to kick the habit. Right? Depends. How many people do you know that have done something for years, can just stop on a whim? I personally don’t know of many. So the question is, “What can we do to ensure success?”.

One way is to identify all of your obstacles before starting. Then come up with ways around those obstacles. Someone who is constantly late and has a really important meeting early the next morning, may set double alarms, a cell phone alarm and schedule a wake up call from an early rising friend. They’ve already laid their clothes out and took a shower the night before. They identified a possible obstacle---oversleeping---and then found a way to lessen the probability of it. They also planned ahead in case it did happen and they had to jump right up---they already had their shower and outfit out of the way.

It also makes sense to make a pro and con list. Most bad habit’s con’s will by far outweigh the pro’s. I mean what pro’s are really there for smoking (I know, I know, my smoker’s can probably name a couple…lol), yet I can think of more than 10 con’s. With a list, it’s easier to remember why we are wanting to stop, and the rewards we will reap once we actually kick it.

Last, but not least---don’t give up! I’ve always heard that success is picking yourself up just one more time than you fall down, and it’s a great motto to live by. Don’t get discouraged by failure. Think of it as eliminating all of the wrong ways first, so that when you do win, the success is that much sweeter.

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