A great opportunity now exists to break some bad habits. I know in my own case just the shutdown eliminated a bad habit. It is now been quite a while and now the new successful habit has replaced it for good. Our success or failure is driven by our habits.
A bad habit can cause us to continue to do things that are non-productive or destructive. For example, you might have a habit of laying back and taking it easy. The result could be panic when you are up against a deadline. The result could be failure to meet the deadline or failure to achieve good results. All of this is the result of living in a comfort zone. That comfort zone exists for us because we are deriving satisfaction for our current habits. As an example, many people have trouble sticking to a diet because it is more comfortable to eat that extra “comfort food”. It would be more effective, of course, to consider the effect of that habit on health and weight loss and simply stop overeating and eating the wrong food. It would be more effective, but it certainly is not easy.
The medical profession has come up with a highly effective way to get people to change habits that are hurting their health. It is called “motivational interviewing” which focuses on the rewards of stopping a bad habit. You know that overeating or smoking, for example, are harmful but you just tell the doctor, yes, I know I will stop someday. Anyway, I really enjoy smoking, or I love eating. Besides, I will die sometime.
Here is the key. Replace the pleasure you get from the harmful habit and replace it with an equal of better pleasure you get from a new habit. What works with patients with chronic health problems can work for you. You won’t be able to pull out the old habit without replacing it with a new and perhaps better alternative. Our minds will not allow us to have a void. The void must be filled. It takes effort to recognize and come up with a suitable and better alternative. When you move out of your old comfort zone you will need to create a new comfort zone. Failure to do that will result in continual stress and that will pull you back into your old habit. That is what happens when people return to a bad habit. They still cling to the old attitude and comfort feeling.
Now let’s use an example. Let’s say you know you should be networking and prospecting, but it is not comfortable. But you visualize the reward that more sales will bring—a better lifestyle, a vacation, and more peace of mind. With that in mind you can replace the comfort of inaction with the comfort of sales and prosperity. You must believe the reward and really want to achieve it.
Finally, divide your goals into bite size action steps. You can’t eat an elephant in one sitting. Action steps are relatively simple tasks—a telephone call, an appointment set, a letter written. These relatively simple tasks add up to the accomplishment of something more significant—the achievement of your goal and your coveted reward!
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