Dear Defeated- Sorry, but no self-respecting psychologist, counselor, pastor, rabbi, or advisor can avoid the term “baby steps” when discussing how one can change bad habits. It’s a drawn-out, difficult process. So, change one harmful habit at a time- work on it diligently before focusing on the next one. Multi-tasking doesn’t work in this business!
A powerful strategy to employ against bad habits is to first resolve what you want to become... to accomplish in life. Then, list all the good habits which are crucial for you to reach your dreams. Next, begin to undermine entrenched bad habits by deliberately attending to how good, but underutilized habits will empower you to succeed. The only difference between losers and winners is the differences in their heads.
It takes constant effort to eventually integrate good habits into your daily routine. You may be a slave to bad habits today, but you have the power to change, to become a ruler over good habits tomorrow. But, you must proceed in “baby steps”- initially set short, easily reachable goals and focus on replacing one bad habit at a time. While harmful behaviors become habitual almost immediately, admirable one’s worth the effort take at least a month or more of daily practice before they become routine.
Strange how good habits erode swiftly and catch hold sluggishly; inversely true for bad ones. But, if you candidly imagine the person you’d like to become and list the good habits you need to get there, you’ll no longer conceal (from yourself) how your current bad habits are imprisoning your future.
Lastly, read "Good Habits Can Be As Addictive As Bad Ones"
Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. has retired from his positions of school psychologist and adjuct professor in the School of Leadership and Policy Studies at Bowling Green State University. Questions, comments, or concerns about family, parenting, educational, or personal concerns? Contact him at the secure Bpath Mail Form. Visit the national Family Journal column.