Do you have a habit that you wish you didn’t have? Maybe you wish you would exercise more, eat healthier foods, quit smoking, or get to bed earlier. Don’t feel bad – we all do. And, I’m guessing, generally speaking, you know what you’re supposed to be doing…but you’re not doing it. Am I right? So, if you know what you should be doing…why aren’t you doing it? And, don’t go blaming it on your lack of willpower or motivation. Here are 10 ways to break a bad habit – that have nothing to do with willpower.
#1 No More Excuses
We are all full of excuses as to why we can’t do what we say we want to do. But, if you want to break a habit, you’ll have to find a way to stop making excuses…and then (well, I’ll share that in just a bit).
What’s your excuse?
Here are just a few of the excuses I hear (and have, on occasion used myself…hey, I’m human!):
I have bad genes
I’m too old
I hate to cook
Ewww….I don’t like that
My significant other doesn’t want to (or the kids)
My knees are bad. (Or maybe it’s your back, shoulders, or ankles)
My job is too stressful
I have to work these long hours to keep my job
My parents never encouraged me to eat this, or do that (and you’re now 50!)
I have to take care of the kids (or maybe it’s the parents)
I don’t have time.
The excuses abound as to why you can’t break a bad habit.
But, here’s the thing…
Having more energy, health, and life balance isn’t just for those who have great genes or are independently wealthy. All of this is also available to those of us that work 8, 10, or 12 hours a day. And, have 2, 3, or more kids. Or are taking care of their parents in their elder years. You probably don’t need more money or time, either.
I get it. It’s easy to use any of those as excuses as to why you can’t eat healthier, or fit in fitness, get more sleep, or have a better attitude. But, if you want to break a bad habit, realize this…
Energy, health, and life balance is available to everyone
The first step to reaching your health and life goals is to stop making excuses. Because I guarantee other people…just like you…have been sucessful because they have not allowed their excuses to hold them back.
Author and podcaster, Tim Ferriss says, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with.” And, that applies to your energy, health, and life balance. Consider all the studies, like this one, that demonstrate that your friends’ weights can influence your own weight. Perhaps you can remember a time that you went out to dinner with friends, vowing to order a healthy entree, but when your friends ordered appetizers, drinks, and desserts you found your “willpower” waning.
So, here’s your challenge
And start looking for examples of people…just like you…who have overcome whatever excuse you think you have. I guarantee that if you go looking, you’ll find at least one person…and probably way way more, that have the same issue as you and have figured out a way to overcome it. Yes, you can break your bad habit!
Think you’re too old to do something? Did you know that Grandma Moses started painting seriously at 78? Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective shark cage – at the age of 64. And, check out all the videos in my “You’re never too old to…” playlist on my YouTube channel where you’ll meet athletes in their 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.
Concerned that you’re too overweight to take up running? Then go watch a running race in your local community. You’ll find out that runners come in all shapes and sizes – and the skinny ones are not always the fastest!
Have you been using your arthritis or bum knee as an excuse for your inactivity? Over the past couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to work with Vail Veterans, a nonprofit based in Vail Colorado. Vail Veterans offer military injured and their families world-class therapeutic programs designed to build confidence and create life-long relationships. I’ve met vets with amputated limbs become competent athletes – and even competitive ones!
Do you travel and there’s not a good gym in your hotel? Since I speak on business travel health, I recently interviewed more than 70 business executives that travel extensively for a living. And, yet, many of them have found a way to incorporate fitness into their daily routines. Check out this blog where I write about business travelers who have found a way to creatively work out…without a gym. I especially like Jesse Roger’s story of how he carries his skateboard with him on his travels.
What about bad genes? Have you ever used that as an excuse as to why you can’t lose weight? Many have. When I did my doctoral dissertation with Mexican American woman who had lost weight and kept it off, I found that one-third of these women said they were heavy as kids. And, they didn’t let that hold them back when they decided to break their bad habit.
So, how can I break a bad habit?
The first of 10 ways to break a bad habit is to remember, “No More Excuses.” Go looking for people who have overcome whatever you think is holding you back. Hang around these people, read about them, listen to their stories. Eventually, those positive influences will start rubbing off on you. And, you’ll actually start believing that you can do it too.
I’ll be posting more ways to break a bad habit soon.