Change can be good, and it can be bad.
Yet somehow, it’s the bad changes that are easy.. and the good changes are hard.
Eating more and less healthy is easy, at least for me. And eating less and more healthy, is hard.
Exercising less is easy, too easy. Exercising more is hard.
In the interest of transparency, I have a confession to make. I’m less than a month into this blog, and already I’ve managed to not follow some of my own advice.
I was going to completely quit watching TV, and spend 40 hours a day doing productive things… but I failed. But that doesn’t mean that it’s time to give up, no.
It’s time to readjust and start again.
Plus, I have a secret weapon. A few steps that will help anyone achieve anything(slight exaggeration).
Step#1. Forgive And Forget Your Mistakes
Dwelling on how you failed will avail no good. Forgive yourself for the mistakes. Think a little about why you failed, and when you started to fall off the wagon, but don’t go into hours.
If you find yourself still thinking about it a few days into your renewed endeavor.. take a deep breath. And think “what’s done is done” or even “I forgive myself for failing once”.
Nobody is perfect.
If you berate yourself for not being an exception, you are being ridiculous.
(Tio: Jump straight back into it. It will make you feel better about yourself, and keep you busy as to not start worrying again.)
Forgiving yourself is the first step. Once you’ve completely let go, it disappears from your mind on it’s own.
Step#2. Take Yourself Seriously (Don’t Second Guess Yourself)
It’s easy to second guess yourself when your own advice is hard to follow. What do I know? But from the minute you start meeting resistance, take that as a confirmation that you’re on the right path. That you know what you’re doing.
You know more than you think.
Give yourself some credit.
It will make following your own advice and plans a lot easier.
(Tip: If you know someone who is struggling in a similar way, explain your ideas and plans to them. When they’re impressed and tell you that “wow that makes a lot of sense”, it will help you realize that you know your shit.)
Step#3. Readjust.. Commit To One Thing At A Time
My greatest problem right now, is that I relapsed and started watching lots of TV. Somebody put me onto Suits, and I became hooked. I “had” to finish it.
Thankfully, I’ve watched all the episodes that are available, and that makes it easier to focus. Focus on becoming less like Litt, as entertaining as he is, and more like… Harvey? (I’m not sure there’s a single good role model in that show… anyway)
So I’ve decided to keep TV watching to one hour a day. And in the interest of actually getting something in return for the time I spend, I’m going to only be watching Japanese shows, to keep the language fresh in my memory.
(Tip: Start with the easiest thing. It gives you momentum for when you tackle your bigger issues. It’s like those annoying upsells. Once you get going it’s hard to stop.)
Step#4. Find Better Substitutes
In my last post on making good time investments, I mentioned walking when the time difference between the bus and walk is less than 20 minutes, because it gives you the opportunity to get a decent amount of exercise done on a daily basis, without having to put in a lot of time.
Part of what makes quitting a bad habits hard, is the free time you end up with.
Sometimes they are obvious. Like in my case. But other times, they are not.
Entertainment has deep roots in my life.. I am an entertainment addict. It’s very unlikely that I will be able to instantly stop without spending a lot of dead time just thinking “I’m so bored” over and over. It’s a bad habit of mine. So what do I do? I find substitutes. Music most notably. But not just music. Music + reading, music + writing, music + walking.
(Tip: You are already doing something similar that is actually not a bad habit. You can increase the time you spend doing that. If that doesn’t work for you, use it as inspirations for a new one.)
I know that some of you will argue that music is still a drug, and that I have to give it up if I truly want to experience life… but for now I’m trying to focus on one thing. Less TV, more productivity. Wait.. does that count as two things? Hmm.
Step#5. Hold Yourself Accountable
When you’re about to misstep, or you just had a minor misstep, instead of thinking “what the hell!” and overstepping some more, hold yourself accountable. When you start breaking the rules, it’s incredibly easy to continue.
Think of it in terms of your favorite ice cream…
It’s a lot easier to not eat or even think about it, when you haven’t had any.
It’s much harder to stop one spoon in. (Sorry for reminding you of the existence of your favorite ice cream… but it was necessary.)
(Tip: Proclaim your new project unto the masses. Make sure at least your closest friends know what you’re doing.)
Even if you’re not going to follow any of the other advice, at least know this.. it’s exactly when your own advice is damn hard to follow that it’s most likely to be right on.
Change is hard.
Change can be painful even.
Your mind doesn’t want it. It rejects it.
Don’t worry if you’ve failed once.
Become who you want to be.
If you could change anything about your habits, what would you choose?
P.S. Yesterday my content was shared almost up into the double digits for the first time ever. That was awesome, thanks to everyone who contributed to the high score. You know who you are.
P.P.S. I like people who share my stuff or comment. Actually, I am going to assume that I like everyone that takes the time to read through my thoughts. So let me know who you are. Leave your thoughts.
Picture by Jan Willem Van Wessell