If we're all creatures of habit, which ones rise to the top of your list? Obviously, many of our habits are healthy. They allow us to move through our daily routines.
I'm talking about those pesky ones that follow us around. Maybe you're a procrastinator and would like to put this question off. Or an emotional eater who needs to run to the fridge to deal with this. Or a smoker who needs to light up another cigarette.
It may be easier to pick up the remote and surf the TV channels - or the Internet (unless this makes you want to whip out your credit card to order yet another needless item). Then again, you may not be able to focus because your work or home areas are cluttered - which leads to a compulsion to clean, organize or bite your nails.
Anyway, you get my point. So, what are our options? First, we need to examine a few things:
The first two questions may look like no-brainers. Actually, they're very important to the process. If we're really not ready for change, we end up sabotaging our efforts, beating ourselves up and feeling guilty about our failures.
According to Dr. James Prochaska and Dr. Carlo DiClemente, developers of the Stages of Change model, there are five distinct stages of change that lead to successful integration of new behaviors.
5. Maintenance, or termination (relapse)
The model has been adopted around the world and has revolutionized the field of substance-abuse prevention and treatment. It stands to reason it could be helpful for overcoming other bad habits that are not necessarily life-threatening, but that chip away at our sense of self-integrity.
Here's a snapshot of the steps in the Stages of Change model:
Pre-contemplation: Not currently considering change - "ignorance is bliss."
Contemplation: Ambivalent about change - "sitting on the fence." This is the stage to evaluate pros and cons of behavior change. Try identifying new, positive outcome experiences without committing to change yet.