How Do You Really Change Old Habits?

Monday, October 13, 2008
As the saying goes, old habits die hard.

Depending on how ingrained your habits, simple willpower is often not enough.  The problem is that everyone wants to believe they have strong willpower - who wants to feel weak?  This leads many exercisers and dieters to rely on self-discipline alone to get them to their goals.

I know it sounds clich√©, but the mind is a very powerful thing.  The problem that the willpower crowd faces is this - patterns that form over time in our brains are not conscious patterns.  Our habits that lead us to excuse ourselves from exercise, overeat and eat certain bad foods are not cognitive decisions.  Our willpower may allow us to fight the good fight, so to speak, but our habits are far more powerful than many of us are willing to believe.

One of the best tools you have at your disposal is good planning.  Structure allows us to ease the process of building good habits to replace the bad ones.  It removes us from the social and emotional cues that often lead us to fall back into our bad patterns.

Make exercise appointments and treat them like you would any appointment.  Plan your daily meals and snacks and make sure you have the foods you plan to eat available.  And don't just plan what - plan when and how much.

Old habits may die hard, but it can be done, provided you're using the right plan of attack.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Hey Mark,
I just wanted to let you know that boot camp and seeing you 6:30 AM, 3 days a week, have become my NEW habit. One that is so worthwhile! Thanks for all the movitation and inspiration!