Saturday, April 14, 2007

Nothing is Stronger that a Bad Habit

Think for a moment... What have your bad habits cost you -- in

relationships, health, money, career and advancement?

You know the habits I'm talking about... smoking, stress eating, wasting your time, mismanaging your money, watching too much TV, working to much, not taking care of your body, cluttered spaces, losing your temper, swearing too much, procrastination, worrying all the time, plus many many more. Bad habits chip away at the life you COULD be living, right now. Habits are what tie us down - and our lifestyles are often little more than the sum total of our habits.

They hold you back from enjoying rewarding personal relationships... And they prevent you from looking and feeling GREAT. What is holding you back from being the best you can be?

How often do our lives become cluttered with unnecessary businesses, events or situations that drain us and at times overwhelm us. Has our busy lifestyle just become another bad habit? It doesn’t take long to feel cluttered and bogged down. Maybe it’s time for a little Spring cleaning.

Can you even put a PRICE on the opportunities and potential your bad habits are holding you back from -- right now?

Of course not! Because your goals and dreams are priceless!

Life is NOT a dress rehearsal -- it's a live show! You owe it to yourself to put in your best possible performance. And to do this, you need to lose the bad habits. Period.

Boot them... bust them... banish them FOREVER!

And so, I challenge you to join me in Forty days of Purpose.

I want to balance my life and focus on each area. What habits do I need to develop or enhance to become more balanced and fulfill my life purpose? In some areas, it will mean developing new habits. In some areas, in will mean being more steadfast in the habits I’m already trying to keep. Examine the areas of your life – family, school, community, work, clubs, etc., and take note of what you want to focus on. And then decide to commit to forty days of purpose to change whatever it is. Forty days. And let’s see if a forty day habit is enough to kickstart a new habit you can keep for a lifetime.

Will you join me?

The first step to changing habits is to realize that all behavior is partly unconscious and mechanical. We are creatures of habit. This is why behavior and thought patterns are not easy to change. The unconscious component can be very deep and very old. Understanding this helps you not to expect too much too fast when attempting to change habits. It is a formidable task or there would be no need for most counseling centers, recovery programs, hypno-therapists and psychiatric medications. However, habits can change.

People often talk of upgrading their computer or their house. Changing habits is about upgrading the quality of your life. Changing habits requires a focus on yourself. It is not a morbid preoccupation with the self, although it may look that way to others. It is about loving the self enough to observe, taking the time to experiment, letting go of what does not work, and having the courage to make new choices. It is all about you, not about others. Stop blaming anyone, in the present or in the past.

Changing habits requires a focus on the present and letting go of the past. Change requires letting go of people, places, activities and things that "once meant something". Sentimental and nostalgic attachments that are now meaningless just hold you back. Throw out items that remind you of a dead past.
Also stay out of the future. The future may or may not happen the way you think. It's up for grabs. Ignore the fortune tellers and prophets of doom. The world is fine and getting better all the time. What matters is whether you are getting better. It's too easy to blame the world for your habits.

The best preparation for the future is to live every moment well. Take one day at a time. If you goof up, let it go and start over tomorrow. Everyone has those days. Fortunately, the day ends and a new one begins.

Whatever you commit yourself to, you will achieve. This is an ironclad rule. Intent is everything. By keeping your intent pure and not giving up, you will eventually achieve success. This holds true in every area of life. If you do not achieve something, it just means you changed your mind at some point and stopped being committed to a particular outcome.

Likewise, just as some people become accomplished musicians by so many hours of daily practice, we can become a better person by consistently making good moral choices. And even if we lose a battle now and then, we won’t lose the war—not as long as we get right back onto that new “path” we’re trying to form.

Plenty of rest and sleep are vital for habit change of any kind. Some attempt to change their habits by distracting themselves with lots of activities. Although focusing on better things is great, it can backfire if it means ignoring the body's needs for sleep and rest. Tiredness leads to apathy, depression and despair. Fatigue is the main cause of depression today. Stimulants of all kinds become all the more attractive when you are tired and depressed.

Changing habits is one of the most worthwhile endeavors you can undertake. Upon careful examination, you will find many habits that undermine your health and happiness. Most of them are hardly conscious. Be patient and persistent, loving yourself regardless of how well you feel you are doing. Making the effort to look at your habits objectively and taking steps to change them is a cool move.

It only takes 40 days to form one new habit. Need to floss more regularly? What once was a tiresome chore will evolve into a bedtime ritual in only 40 days. Encouraged by this, you could then break the habit of eating too many sweets. Next tackle the habit of criticizing too much and for 40 days look for an opportunity to give someone a thoughtful genuine compliment each day. Soon you will have a new habit of praising your kids and husband and/or wife. The results will be astounding and astonishing.

So, how about it? Forty days of purpose anyone?. It will immediately make you feel happier and healthier. Live to be grateful. Choose to be happy. I’m betting it will make a world of difference.