“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” Brian Tracy
Bad habits are hard to break. They’re deeply ingrained into your subconscious because of behavior you learn and repeat over time. So how do you “unlearn” them and finally quit those bad habits once and for all?
Identify what triggers the bad habits.
Research tells us that one of the most effective ways to control bad habits is to be aware of your triggers for potential slip-ups and vigilantly monitor those triggers. Have a response ready to combat these triggers when they pop up, and make sure the response is framed in an assertive manner.
For example, “I do not drink soda” or “I will pass on dessert.”Advertising
They’re surprisingly effective.
Avoid situations where you know there will be triggers.
You’re probably well aware of the situations that are going to trigger your bad habits. Maybe you want to quit smoking and you know you smoke more when you go out drinking with your buddies. Or you eat fairly healthy at home but know you’ll splurge when you go out to eat.
As hard as it may sound, don’t put yourself in these types of situations where you know you’ll trigger a bad habit. You can still go out with your friends or go to dinner, but have a clear intention of what you’re not going to do and stick with it.
Replace bad habits with good ones.
Here’s an idea: every time you get the craving for a cigarette, eat a mini-carrot instead. Or every time you see the creme brulee on the menu, ask for a cup of fruit. Of course it’s infinitely more difficult than it sounds. Habits take time, persistence, and patience. You need to make a commitment and find ways to stick with it (more on that to come).
Start small, and repeat your good behaviors as much as possible and they’ll eventually turn into habits.Advertising
Anticipate failure and plan for success.
Failure is inevitable, especially when you’re trying to quit your bad habits. When you slip, accept it and move on. But learn from your mistakes. View every failure as an opportunity for growth.
Let’s say you’re spending time with your family over the holidays and you know you won’t be able to resist your mom’s amazing apple pie. Set your plan in motion in advance. Offer to cook a healthy side dish. Commit to splitting a piece of pie with someone else.
A little foresight goes a long way.
Make tiny changes.
Stanford behavioral psychological BJ Fogg recommends a “tiny habits” approach to turning bad habits into good ones. His premise is simple:
1. Start small. For example, if you want to exercise more, do two pushups a day.Advertising
2. Link the new behavior to an existing spot in your routine. For example, do two pushups every day as soon as you wake up.
3. Repeat the behavior every day until it becomes a habit. You’ll find yourself naturally progressing and doing more pushups each week.
Make a commitment.
Commitment is a proven psychological principle that can help you quit your bad habit. In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini says that people who make a firm commitment to do something are more likely to stick with that goal.
Tell your friends.
This is a common strategy that weight loss clinics employ. They require their clients to write down their weight loss goals and show it to friends, family, and colleagues. Why?
Because it works.
Telling about people about your commitment to quit your bad habits puts pressure on you to stick with the commitment. It helps hold you accountable during times you want to give up.Advertising
Keep a journal.
Research proves that there’s a significant association between self-monitoring and positive health outcomes. In other words, keeping a journal to track your progress can help you increase your odds of turning a bad habit into a good one.
Ask for help when you need it.
As much as you might try to go about it alone, you’re going to have a much easier time ditching a bad habit if you have the support of the people you love. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you slip, it’s okay to call a friend and talk about it. If you know friends who have quit the same bad habit you’re looking to get rid of, ask them how they did it, and seek their advice when you get stressed.
Focus on your plan more than the end goal.
Too many of us are outcome-focused. We want immediate results and get blinded by the end goal.
Instead, focus on the journey. Form a plan to quit bad habits and place your time and attention on your plan and “system”. If your mindset is too focused on achieving your goal by a certain date, you can set yourself up for failure when you don’t accomplish your goal by that deadline.
Build your plan, then focus on small action steps each week to get you closer to where you want to be. This is the most important thing to remember to quit your bad habits and/or achieve your dreams. Stop thinking, start doing.
Last Updated on May 16, 2019
The Daily Rituals of 7 Successful CEOs
One of my favorite success quotes ever comes from one of the original and most successful ‘CEOs’ of his era: Aristotle. Here’s what he said:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
This advice is just as sound today as it was when Aristotle first expressed it, way back when. I’m reminded of this at least once a week, when I interview an inspiring author, leader, or successful CEO on my show. I ask my guests a series of questions about what has contributed to their success and their ability to build something meaningful.
You want to know what nearly all of them say? Almost every time, they respond by telling me that their success is the result of simple habits enacted day after day.
These quotes from seven successful CEOs demonstrate the daily rituals that have contributed to their success:
1. Promote what you love.
“It’s so much better to promote what you love than to bash what you hate.” – Jessica Alba, CEO of The Honest Company
2. Develop a feedback loop.
“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.” – Elon Musk, CEO of TESLA Motors
3. Create things that are better, not just “different.”
“Our task today is to find singular ways to create the new things that will make the future not just different, but better—to go from 0 to 1. The essential first step is to think for yourself. Only by seeing our world anew, as fresh and strange as it was to the ancients who saw it first, can we both re-create it and preserve it for the future.” – Peter Thiel, CEO of Palantir and best-selling author of Zero To One.
“Meditate. Breathe consciously. Listen. Pay attention. Treasure every moment. Make the connection.” – Oprah Winfrey, CEO of OWN Network
5. Read every day.
“Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up like compound interest.”-Warren Buffet, CEO of investment firm Berkshire-Hathaway
6. Block time for email.
“Set aside a 20- to 30-minute chunk of time two or three times a day for email. Do not check continually through the day.” – Doug Camplejohn, CEO of predictive lead marketing company FlipTop.
7. Make your customers happy.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com
Develop the right rituals. Become a successful CEO.
If the majority of these daily habits are new to you, avoid making the crucial mistake of adopting all of these habits at once. Research on habit-formation indicates that lasting habits are formed one at a time.
For example, let’s say you’re excited about developing the following daily habits:
- daily reading,
- daily meditation, and
- updating your to-do list every night
Let’s say that daily reading is the one that excites you the most out of the three habits noted above. It would be wise of you to begin by choosing and scheduling time to read every day, and then sticking to that time until it becomes a habit. Once it feels effortless and automatic, you’ll know that you’ve turned it into a daily habit. Now you’re ready to install the next habit… and the next… Until before you know it, you’ll start looking in the mirror and seeing the reflection of a successful CEO.
Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com