The following steps are here to help guide you during your efforts to change behavior:
Take a moment to sit quietly and think calmly and deeply about what it is in your life that you want to change. See what it is that you want to be different.
Now begin to draw upon your will power and inner strength and feel the potential of that power within you. Now begin to ask your higher power to grace you and guide you in your efforts. Now you are ready to begin.
Be an observer of yourself–without judgement.
This will help you to be calm and less personally affected by the ups and downs that happen while trying to change behaviors you have had for a long time. This will prevent you from becoming attached to the results or negative self talk. You will actually improve your likelihood of success by staying positive and focusing on your future successes and opportunities for growth. Remember–you are a beautiful, wonderful soul regardless of what you do or do not do.
Make a list of the good habits or behaviors that you want to build in your life.
These new behaviors can be as small as flossing every day or as big to never getting angry again! Just remember to phrase it in a positive way so that you do not affirm a negative behavior. Also, be specific so that you can more easily track how you are doing at reaching your goal. For example, instead of saying, “I won’t watch so much TV when I come home from work,” you can say, “When I come home from work I will go for a walk.
Focus on one or two habits that you feel will be easiest to change.
You may find it best to start smaller with more manageable habits. You will be able to give them more energy, positively directed attention, and focus. Then as you begin to overcome them, you will gain confidence and will power and so can work up to taking on more your more challenging behaviors.
Plan how you will incorporate this new habit into your daily life.
You need to think about what obstacles you may face, who you will need to ask for support, how you can make it easier on yourself to perform this new behavior, and for how much time you will need to dedicate to doing it. Planning, if done correctly, can be the make it or break it point of change. Here are some ideas to help you with your planning:
- Use tricks like visual reminders (keep the floss where you will see it and remember to do it before bed).
- Set alarms reminding you to be thoughtful of your goal.
- Make your environment more friendly. If you know that you like to exercise when you have great music to listen make your playlist a priority and keep it updated. Or if you only exercise when you have your favorite book, set up your machine to hold books.
- Keep a positive boost around in case of serious need, like a text message you can lock on your phone and re-read when needed.
- If there is a certain time of day that you know you have the most energy and strength you will need to take on your new habit– do it then!
- Schedule time daily to make it part of your permanent routine.
- Be consistent, and practice however many times a day you need.
Track of your new behaviors and whether or not you are succeeding at doing them each day. This is so that you can become more aware of how you are doing and reflect: what is it that is helping you succeed? or what is making it harder for you? What it is that you may need to adjust?
One way of tracking behaviors is by keeping a journal handy at all times. Whether it’s paper or electronic, be creative and do what works for you. You can something as simple as tally marks for every time you remembered your new behavior to writing down more specific details.
Positively reinforce your successes.
Do whatever you feel will help celebrate your accomplishments at the end of the day and keep you motivated. And remember, no success is too small. “Everything in the future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.”– Sri Yuketswar.
Keep your goal-related affirmation next to your bed so that you remember to recite it first thing in the morning and again right before you sleep at night. This will focus your awareness on your new behavior. Also, recite this affirmation when you feel discouraged, and re-direct it toward your success.
Visualize your success.
What will it be like with your friends and family when you succeed? How do you see yourself confidently performing the new behavior?
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” –Gandhi
And remember to keep trying no matter what!
Never affirm failure during life’s great challenges. Instead, continue to affirm that one day you will succeed and you will!