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Last Updated on May 8, 2019

How Much Do You Need to Give Up to Start Over?

How Much Do You Need to Give Up to Start Over?

There is a common belief that when you want to embark or start on something new, whether it be a project, a hobby, a job or some big life change, a certain sacrifice must be made. “Out with the old, and in with the new” as they say. It’s almost as if we’re not capable of handling more than what we already have unless we let go of something. But is that really always the case?

When I was young, I took up violin lessons. I enjoyed playing the violin, but when I saw a friend playing the guitar, I got interested in that and wanted to start playing the guitar. My parents however, insisted that I continue with violin lessons and felt I should give my full attention to one instrument, rather than a few; they didn’t believe in being a Jack of all trades. And so sadly, I never got to take up guitar lessons.

Afraid of Giving it Up?

Have you found yourself in a similar circumstance? Perhaps you’re at a crossroad right now, and you’re trying to decide on whether to stay on in your current job, or move on to something completely different.

You’re not truly doing something you love or are passionate about, and so you want to make that change… but it’s a risky plunge.

You’re going to have to sacrifice everything that you’ve worked for over the years. You’re going to have to say goodbye to that big salary, the benefits that comes with the job, and you’re going to have to adjust to the changes.

Thinking of all that is already detering you from stepping out to take that plunge, isn’t it?

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Or maybe you have many responsibilities in life and little time for yourself. You have a spouse and children to take care of, maybe you’ve even got aging parents to think of.

At work, you’ve got subordinates waiting on you for advice. As a leader, you have to manage the team. You’ve got conference calls in different time zones to take, business trips to make, decisions to execute.

You have a lot on your plate, and you wish you could just set aside some time to enjoy the pleasures in life. Golf more, take the kids out more, go on vacations more.

Sure, if you wanted all that time, you could take on a lower paying job that would require less of your time. But that would mean a big pay cut and less comfort in your life. If not, you’ll just have to wait till retirement.

Play It Safe and Regret It Later

In these situations, it usually feels like an all or nothing approach. And, it then becomes the ‘smart’ thing to just ignore the challenge and stay put. Unless you’re overly confident that things are going to work out, or that you have a back up plan in place, most people never truly dare to take on new opportunities after a certain age or stage in life for fear of losing out, falling behind or having to give up whatever it is that they’ve already accomplished thus far.

But this is also where many individuals end up feeling regret much later on in life, perhaps as they approach retirement and have a sense of unfulfillment. There is an emptiness or a lack that they start feeling because they never answered their ‘calling’ or satisfied their heart’s desires. You may end up feeling short changed and unhappy with how things have turned out.

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Most people end up feeling more bitter over the regrets of not having done or tried something, rather than in the mistakes they made when they tried something. It’s always the ‘what ifs’ that will go on to haunt you.

No Sacrifice Needed!

The good news is, you don’t actually have to make such a big sacrifice when it comes to change! Everything that you’ve ever achieved and want to accomplish comes from you – your mind.

You set the limits and expectations for what you want in life, which is why the first step to breaking free from your limitations is to learn how to control and change your perception of your current situation. With this in mind, you can now actively take charge of your circumstances to build and create new opportunities.

So how do you begin?

Think of being at the beach, where you can see the tides coming in. When the tide is against you, it feels like an uphill battle. But, when the tide is with you, like when you’re surfing, suddenly there’s this invisible force – a momentum that pushes you along; you’re able to ride the waves smoothly, just how that momentum pushes you towards your goal.

So part of taking charge of your circumstances is to systematically turn the tides in your favor. That means actively and strategically building up momentum for yourself to propel you where you want to go. But, first, you have to know what you want. You need to know where you’re going in order to set the right goals and the right actions to start getting there, right?

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Life in Trends

Next, you also need to see things in terms of Trends. Do you believe that a big change requires some sort of big, dramatic decision? Well that’s not always the case!

The truth is, that change, especially big change, almost never happens as a sudden, one-off result. Change doesn’t happen in a sudden impulsive decision, because those types of changes almost never turn out well. The outcomes that do succeed are a result of a build up of underlying factors that probably started a long time ago.

Think of the last major decision you made. The seeds that culminated in it were probably planted months or maybe even a year before–am I right? You can say that those seeds began a new life trend that started gaining momentum as you put more actions into it. And, this really is how your life works.

Life is a series of trends. And a trend is a direction of change – it’s always moving forward.

But, the thing about trends is that they’re either going up or down; some are moving faster than others, but they’re always moving. Another thing about trends is that you don’t notice the change happening at the time. The vast majority of change happens behind the scenes and builds up over time. It’s not until it passes a critical point when it suddenly becomes apparent.

Real change comes from where your trends are taking you. Because a trend is like a river, once it builds up momentum, it becomes a force of its own, and nothing can stop it from reaching its destination. So the secret to turning the tides to your favor, is to control your trends. 

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But a trend doesn’t start with your actions. Like your limitations, it starts from your perspective – how you see the thing you’re trying to change. So once you change your perspective, believe it or not, you’ve already started creating a new trend. You’ll start doing things differently, and soon enough it’ll become automatic. Slowly at first, but over time, these will build up into a completely new you in that part of your life.

So since trends are realized over time, this means that it’s important to start now, because big change is like a snowball. It accumulates from a lot of consistent actions. The upside to viewing change in terms of trends is that you can start enjoying the change immediately. And, the change doesn’t stop, as long as the trend keeps building up. It’ll continue to grow and get bigger and bigger..

The biggest difference between those who experience breakthroughs and those who don’t, is that the ones who see breakthroughs go through a total shift in mindset. They realize a need to see things differently, and as a result, they’re able to act differently which leads to successful outcomes.

The Breakthrough Framework

So this is where I want to introduce the Breakthrough Framework. This is the framework that will help you to turn your mindset around, and provide an overall paradigm shift for you to turn any limitation you may be having, into an opportunity that is achievable.

By going through this framework, you’ll be able to achieve the change that is needed to reach your goals and break free from whatever is currently holding you back.

During each step of your journey, you will utilize the 7 Cornerstone Skills to help you through your transformation. These skills will magnify your efforts and instill changes permanently so that you won’t fall back into those limitations.

Don’t be afraid to step out and take that new plunge. The secret to living the life you want lies in Lifehack’s solution — Check out Our Solution Here!

Featured photo credit: Martha Dominguez de Gouveia via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on November 15, 2019

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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