Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Getting RID of Habits" - Just doesn't work

Do you take New Year resolutions? Do you stick to your New Year resolutions? Research has shown that 90% of the people give up on their New Year’s resolutions, before the end of January and guess what, majority of the remaining 10% give up before the end of February. The initial enthusiasm you see in January vanishes soon like a piece of butter placed on a hot pan.  I’m going to give you a tip that helps you to effectively stick to your New Year resolutions.

Many a times New Year Resolutions fail because “People try to desperately RUN AWAY from their bad behaviors”. Instead of RUNNING AWAY from something, focus on RUNNING TOWARDS something. The only time RUNNING AWAY FROM SOMETHING works is when you are chased by a hungry dog.

When you try hard to UNLEARN your bad habits, you focus too much on the BAD than focusing on the GOOD. For example, when delivering a speech, the more you focus on getting rid of nervousness, the more nervous you become. Instead, you should focus on how you would feel if you deliver the speech successfully.

One of the prominent New Year resolutions is to QUIT smoking. Zig Ziglar, the powerful motivational speaker was a “three-pack-a-day” smoker. Cigar was almost like a 6th finger in his hand. He had a New Year resolution to quit smoking. I think he was so passionate about that resolution. He took the same resolution every year for more than 20 years. He had tried to quit many times using every tool and technique he heard about. He tried all the things from applying “patches” to destroying the “matches”. But as long as he was trying to QUIT, he couldn’t break the grip.

Finally, he changed the approach. Instead, of trying to QUIT the habit of smoking, he developed a dream to become a non-smoker. He fell in love with the idea of breathing clean air instead of smoky air. He wanted his body and clothes to smell nice instead of smoky. He decided to start acting and thinking like a non-smoker, and when the thinking took hold he simply quit smoking.

New Year Resolutions are easy to make – but hard to sustain. Experts say it takes 3 weeks to develop a new habit and 6 months for it to become a part of your life and just 1 week to completely give up. Giving up a resolution is THAT easy.
Steven Covey, the author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective people says “Substitute bad habits with good habits.  It is easier to develop good habits, that way”. Focus on what you WANT TO BECOME than focusing on what YOU DON’T WANT TO BECOME.  If you follow this, 2011 is going to be the first year where you will be reaching all your New Year Resolutions.

Published in March 2011 Chennai Toastmasters newsletter 

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