Ever wonder why it's so hard to change bad habits? Or why it's too hard sometimes to stick to a new one?
"I haven't exercised the whole year, but next year I'll hit the gym every day."
"I have been eating badly every day at every meal, but this coming year I'll stop eating junk, and eat only healthy stuff the whole time."
"I procrastinate working on things I don't like, but next year I'll do them without thinking twice."
Well, I could go on and on with examples, but I think you understand. You are not alone if you fail to keep up with your New Year's resolution after a short while.
But what happens? Why can't we just stick to anything?
The answer is simple, yet most of us don't see it. We want to change things once and for all, but end up having only a glimpse of how life could be without the bad habit -- and, most of the time, the glimpse is not really what we envision for the long run. "What do you mean I'll never be able to eat chocolate again?" "Do I need to work out every single day?" "I can never every again have a single cigarette?" You know what I am talking about.
Looking back at my past, I realized that my habits today are way better than they were before, but I don't remember actually changing them. Why? Because I didn't try to get rid of bad habits all at once; instead, I substituted them to good habits slowly, in "installments."
One day I decided to substitute my unhealthy breakfast for something wholesome, no matter how my eating was going to be the rest of the day. All I was concerned with was one meal (that made the whole picture much more doable).
Another day I started to incorporate salad into my lunch. Not at every meal, not celery sticks for snack, but a small salad with whatever I had for lunch.
At a different time, I started to buy whole-wheat bread and brown rice instead of white. I was not trying to become a vegan or anything like that.
I wanted to start exercising but just the thought of going to the gym every day made me shudder. So one day a friend asked me if I could run (I had always hated to run!) for half a minute. That seemed doable! A few months later I was running 30 minutes instead of 30 seconds and today I actually enjoy doing it.
The changes I was making were actually sticking because I did them slowly, one at a time.
And here's the good news my friend: You can do it, too. No matter what habit you are trying to break or incorporate.