5 Unconventional Steps of Habit Formation

Changing your habits is fucking easy!

You just stop doing the shit you no longer want to do. And then start doing the things you do want to do.

Easy.

At least in theory.

But in reality it’s hard.

Because sometimes we don’t feel like doing it. Maybe we even love the “easiness” and “comfort” of our old behaviour.

Maybe we are even scared. Maybe we don’t want to embarrass ourselves by trying something new and fail?

Maybe – just maybe – the old behaviour even fulfilled some of our six human needs and now getting rid of it is actually HARMING us and our emotional well-being more than the new behaviour can possibly improve it.

So…

Let’s correct myself here:

Habit formation and changing your behaviour – in reality – is fucking hard!

But here is my 5-step concept of making it a LITTLE BIT easier though:

1. Understand What Are You Moving Towards

When all hell is breaking loose and I am freaking out about how fucked up my life is, I try to change A LOT of things at once.

Suddenly I realize all these areas that were slowly falling apart, but I neglected for way too long.

Now – with this newly gained awareness – I want to fix them all at once. And with all these new “wants and needs” my mind gets cluttered and overwhelmed again.

And I freak out even more.

So the first step is to just pick ONE THING to move towards. Something to build a new habit around.

Just.

One.

Thing.

2. Identify What You Are Moving Away From

Sometimes we KINDA want to have something, but we DEFINITELY want to get rid of something else. 

We are more driven to move away from bad things than to move towards good things.

Because the worst spot you can find yourself in is right in the middle. Not too bad, but not too good either. Too good to be OK but not bad enough to go for a change.

So habit formation and cultivating a new behaviour also means getting rid of something else. 

You replace a old behaviour with a new one.

And it helps to IDENTIFY what this old behaviour or state is you are moving away from.

Because it allows you to see what you will be missing out on in the near future. And then you take a deep look into the mirror and double-check with yourself if you will be OK with that.

A lot of people actually forget to do that and then they somehow feel DRAWN towards their old behaviour and wonder why they can’t make the leap.

Here is the trick:

Your old behaviour served a purpose. Even if it was a “bad habit” you eventually got something out of it. Some “comfort”, some “easiness” maybe?

It fulfilled a need for yourself. And unless you somehow cover the same exact need with your new behaviour (or something else), you’ll always come back to this “bad” habit.

So…

  • What are you moving away from?
  • What does it give you?
  • And how can you get the same feeling from a “healthier habit” so that you won’t be missing out on that stuff as soon as you drop your “bad habit”?

3. Know Why You Should Even Try

Sometimes it’s obvious why we are doing certain things.

Sometimes we are forced to make a change instead.

But oftentimes the WHY behind our actions is pretty much in the unknown.

The good thing is that when you have spend some time on point 1 & 2 in this list, you’ll realize that you are now a bit more in the known about WHY you are doing all this. 

  • You know what you want and what you are moving towards.
  • You know what you are moving away from.
  • You know what you want to add to your life.
  • And you know what you no longer tolerate and therefore want to remove.

All good starting points to find an even better reason to go through all the struggle you’ll eventually go through as soon as you start going for a habit change.

Keep your WHY somewhere close. Because it’s the one thing which will keep you going when things are hard.

And they will.

4. Uncover What Held You Back Until Now

“Seriously, why haven’t you gone for the same change YEARS ago?”

I don’t want to beat you up about it, but it helps to put self-awareness towards this simple question.

  • It could be because you lacked valuable information which you now have. So you now know this old behaviour is bad, which you didn’t before. Now you change.
  • It could be because you had no alternative. You didn’t know that there are other ways to get it done. Whatever “it” means for you.
  • It could be because you are just fed up with it and you now crossed your personal threshold. This far but not one step further.

Think about it and use this knowledge in the final step to…

5. Realize That It’s Different This Time

Because of the given reasons you are now in a different spot. Now you know. Now you are in control. And now you pull it off.

This time will be different.

Because you are different.

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