Ever heard the phrase, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?” This popular Albert Einstein phrase is often quoted, but how often do we actually take heed to the underlying message, which is: change your habits?
One of the problems most of us have is that we don’t first identify the actual habit that needs to be changed. For instance, let’s say you’re always late in the morning. You know that you need to do something different, but first: are you willing to figure out what that thing is? Have you taken the time to observe your own behavior and see what needs to be changed?
Observe yourself. No one knows you better than you: you’re with yourself all day, every day. But sometimes, when you’ve done the same thing for so long, you may not even realize that you’re doing it, like leaving the light on when you exit a room or not putting the top back on the toothpaste. You have to make yourself see yourself. Become more observant and more focused instead of absently doing things in autopilot. It will take some practice, but once you become more cognizant of your own behavior, you’ll be able to change it.
Identify and change the habit. After observing yourself, you’ll be able to identify the habit at the source. In the example of always being late in the morning, it’s clear that maybe you need to wake up earlier. Put your alarm somewhere across the room so you’ll be forced to get up in order to turn it off. Changing your habits requires determination and application. In other words, you have to do something about it instead of leaving it to chance. Sometimes you simply need to proact in order to avoid being held up in the morning, which brings us to the next step:
Proact instead of react. This one step can solve a multitude of problems. I had to realize this in my own life because I had a natural tendency to procrastinate and end up getting myself into a huge mess as a result. Some of the most successful people aren’t the most ingenious or even the best at what they do. What sets them apart and renders them able to tackle their daily tasks is that they proact, which simply means “to take action in advance of an expected event.” A person who is proactive controls a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened. You can’t control everything that comes your way on a daily basis, but when you proact, you can avoid many a disaster and be prepared when they do come.
Become consistent. Once you have changed your habit, you now have to create a new habit by constantly remaining dedicated to the change you’ve made in your life. Don’t ever give yourself an excuse to return to your old habits, or else they will never be broken.
Observe yourself: again and again. Lastly, never stop observing yourself. Remember that “old habits die hard” and they are always trying to creep back up. Choose to stay in the race and remain focused.
Remember that nothing is impossible and you can truly change yourself by changing your habits.
Habit: “something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way.”
(Thanks, Merriam Webster).
Just a reminder,