All of us have goals in our personal life, but lack discipline to pursue it and achieve it.
It could be goals like focusing on fitness and losing a few kgs, or reading 10 pages of a book every day, not snacking at odd times, switching off Netflix at a set time every night, waking up early or sleeping on time, even simple things seem difficult. It’s difficult because we lack discipline, or are unable to bring in disciple.
In my opinion, creating new habits are difficult because we fail to understand the triggers that lead us to doing something, or not doing something. Our habits are us acting out from a subconscious level. Getting rid of them or altering them needs little self-discovery before taking action to change.
Here are a few steps I recommend before you embark on new habit formation.
- Know your weakness: Understand the triggers that lead you to do something that is undesirable, or causes lack of action
- Remove temptations: When the trigger occurs, what do you do? How do you react? Get rid of that which you need.
- Set clear goals: What is the new habit you want? Prepare for it
- Create new habits: Every time you experience the trigger, instead of doing the old thing, do the new thing
- Stay the course and reward yourself: If you are able to maintain the new routine for say a week, reward yourself with something that is exciting for you. And continue until you succeed.
I would like to explain this with an example. I used to snack a lot in between meals, have tea with sugar and cookies. (This is apart from the usual morning 7 am cup and the 5pm cup) This meant that I was consuming additional calories during the day, which comes in the way of achieving my fitness goals. This is how I analyzed the situation and took care of it.
- Know my weakness: I love a hot cup of chai with cookies.
- Remove temptation: I feel a bit hungry and need the above 2 when I take a mini break from work, around 11 am and at 3 pm. Tea are cookies are part of my break routine.
- Clear goal: Reduce tea with sugar and cookies
- Create new habit: I found healthy alternatives. Switched to flavoured/herbal teas for the 11 am break. Green tea and puffed rice for the 3 pm break.
- Staying the course: I know that puffed rice is tasty too. Sometimes I get a tasty alternative to puffed rice. Once in 2 weeks, I have a nice yummy samosa along with my 5 pm tea as a treat.
Over a period of time, I have stopped consuming unhealthy snacks. I have stopped buying unhealthy cookies, and that has made a huge difference.
If you wish to change a food habit, you need to change the way you shop and what comes into your home.
The same method can be applied for replacing all bad habits with new ones.
Sandhya Reddy is a PCC Accredited Executive Coach and Leadership coach based in Bangalore, India. She is the Founder and Principal Coach at Chapter Two Coaching, a coaching consultancy that specializes in leadership development. She is a Certified Hogan Assessor and Coach. She has over 750+ hours of experience with coaching senior professionals. She has enabled personal transformation for over 2500+ individuals through coaching interventions, workshops, webinars and mentoring.
Chapter Two helps leaders in middle levels and senior levels engage better with their teams, peers and senior stakeholders. We help teams develop a growth and performance mindset, align better with the organizational culture and values and function more cohesively. We are also passionate about women’s leadership development and have developed a practice around it. We enable leadership development through 1:1 coaching interventions and through a set of curated leadership and personal transformational workshops.