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  • Writer's pictureLinda Milun

Tried & Tested: Trick the habits

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

How often have you found yourself over an over again in the same situation you actually tried so hard to avoid? How often were you frustrated with yourself, because you didn't manage to do regular sport, keep the house tidy or made the call you should have made last week already?

Well, change is tricky. Especially when it is about habit change! But there are some factors that can benefit a positive outcome! And that sounds to me like good news! Let's be real, habit change is nothing that will happen suddenly over night... I mean, just the word "habit" points that fact out. But our goal is to have on the long run tricked our habits into healthy change. Most of the thoughts and tipps I will share here with you are tested and tried by me and worked out well.

1. Enviornment Tweaking - The fastest way to change is to acutally to adjust your enviornment. For example, if you have a problem with eating to much sweets, but you buy all the time sweets, than you will have it much harder to resist the temptation. This would be a rather easy tweaking: Do not buy sweets. If they are not in your house, than you can't eat them right away. Oh, but if you anyhow don't buy sweets and its friends and family, who know that you have a sweet tooth and they gift you all the time sweets, because they want to treat you something nice? Well, one option is to tell them "please don't gift me sweets anymore, I am trying to get hold of my health" or if you dont like this direct apprach, just tell them randomly and often "I really love this unsalted nut mix." or "I really love eating Müsli without added sugar!".. People still flood you with sweets? Make a box in which you keep all the sweets. On that box you write "for guests" and you keep it in the furthest corner in your storage with tons of other small things piled on top. Having to remove all the things from the top can make you reconsider, reading the title "for guests" will make you reconsider... An important factor to keep in mind: it can happen that if your enviornmental change is

not lasting, that you slip back into old or other unhealty patterns. e.g. you moved out

from your college dorm and you are now able to eat more healthy since you are living alone.

But, when you moved together with your partner or flatmate, you slipped back into unhealty

eating patterns, because your flatemate or partner does not feel the need to be as

healthy with their diet as you are. Does that mean you should live for the rest of your

life alone? No, it just means, that the fastest way in this case was not effective enough for

the intended change. No need to give up completely.

And of course some things in our enviornment we can't just change easily. So this step

won't work for some areas or things in your life.

2. Small Steps - The biggest impact in your habit change will come by going step by step. Change takes time. And facing that fact and starting change gradually will bring you closer to a satisfying longterm outcome. Actually these small steps are about creating new habits, which will eventually replace on the long run the old habits.

e.g. You want to be more organised at home, so a small step would be, that after getting up first thing you do is making your bed. A tidy bed has the splendid effect on you, that you feel more sorted and you will automatically get more stuff done throughout the day. It's like you flipped a switch subconciously through making your bed: Now let's be producitve today.

Of course you have to practice this step every morning until it is an automatic thing you do without thinking. Once that is set in place you can take the next step.

e.g. That could be, that every evening you clean your kitchen sink, till it looks like you can eat out of it. Why? Because if you clean your sink, you will also first tidy up what ever is laying around the sink and maybe do some dishes or empty and fill the dishwasher. You will end up with a nice and tidy area at your sink section. That will lead you to go more satisfied to bed and in the morning not feeling guilty about a messy kitchen. You will have more time in the morning and won't have to do stuff in a rush. Plus a clean sink will be less tempting to pile more stuff on top... And again, once you practiced this till you get to a point that you will do it without thinking, you can take the next step... And all this goes on and on until you are at a point that you will find satisfying for your way of living. You see small steps can have a big impact and influence that you are willing to implement more steps. It is like a chain of reaction.

3. Celebrate Success - Well, the problem with every step and every new habit is the motivation. Motivation comes and goes, so if you make motivation the driving force in the habit changing process, then... well then the success will most likely keep you waiting. Something that really pushes lasting change is celebrating every small success. There are tons of options how that can look like. Be it, that you make a happy dance, tap yourself on the shoulder and say "I am brilliant.", or maybe even a cheat day once a week, if you managed to eat healthy the rest majority of the week. I encourage my clients to collect their accomplishments and successes in a journal, or on their phone or however it works for them. e.g. they can collect a whole week, what they did well in matters of the habit they wanted to implement or unlearn. And at the end of the week they revise it with me. We reflect this success in the session and the client decided how he/she wants to celebrate this success later on.

The key is to focus on the good. Of course, if things did not go as well or some old habits tried to sneak back in and so on, than this also needs to be faced and dealt with. But if we continue to beat ourselves up, over and over again over something than we drift deeper and deeper in negativity. Self-forgiveness is here essential. If we focus on what went well, than it will be easier for us to face our failures. Reflecting on the positive and success leads to more joy and that leads to more motivation.

There are many more things you can do to make progress in tricking the tricky habits. If you want to know more or start this journey while having a coach alongside you, than I want to invite you to a free first coaching session with me.

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