We cannot easily fight a bad habit, but hopefully, we can replace it with a good one. In the last article, I shared with you a common situation I often see in the people I mentor, more precisely the difficulty to protect your rest and use your free time intentionally.
What do you think will help you to decide what kind of good habits you want to keep inside your days and the ones you need to quit?
Conscious? Good sense? Self-awareness? A clear purpose?
Most likely, all of the above, plus, Love for Yourself!
To be clear, to love yourself means to accept yourself as you are, and to come to terms with those aspects you cannot change and the ones you can. It means to have self-respect, a positive self-image, and unconditional self-acceptance.
Our life is a journey made of small steps, just like walking, do you want to give it a try? Let’s start with our sleep!
Step 1 – Define the behavior you want to change.
Getting better sleep may sound great, but it gives you little to grasp onto. You need to prime the habit-breaking process by thinking in terms of specific, doable behaviors — like how many hours I want, or I need to rest? Be concrete and define what do you want to change.
Step 2 – Identify the triggers.
Your laptop or mobile phone near the bed might be that spark of anxiety that cranks up the desire to start “entertaining” your brain. By identifying your triggers, you have a way of pushing back and not having that autopilot kick in. You can also work backward — notice, for example, when you are picking up your devices, use your awareness to ask yourself: What is going on? Why am I doing this? Do I want to do it?
Step 3 – Deal with reality and develop a plan.
Breaking habits isn’t about stopping but substituting. You can proactively get the Laptop and the mobile out the room and realize that it is time to replace them with a good book, music or a conversation to help you relax. Rather than automatically marching into the danger-zone of binging into endless digital consumption. The key here is mapping this out before the triggers have a chance to kick in.
Step 4 – Change the larger pattern.
Here we are widening the context that surrounds the habit-pattern. If falling asleep and having proper rest is a challenge for you, you should develop some “ritual” to calm down and enter into a peaceful flow. Dim the lights, choose a friendly playlist and indulge yourself with a nice bath. By looking at and changing the larger pattern, you are not only making it easier to tackle the core habit but are practicing exercising your willpower on smaller, more natural pattern-breaking behaviors.
Step 5 – Use prompts.
These are reminders to help you break the pattern by creating positive triggers and alerts to keep you on track. Putting an alarm on your phone when it is time to start preparing your sleep or placing the book on top of your pillow can do wonders when it gets to choose to do the right thing.
Step 6 – Reward yourself.
Because habits live on our agenda and daily hours, it is easier to measure what we are doing and understand if we are on track or not. It is essential to keep your eyes on the prize and build in a payoff. After a good week preparing your sleep, why don’t you get a new inspiring book or a sweet treat for your bath? Identify your milestones and celebrate when you achieve them.
Step 7 – Persistence and Patience.
You need to accept that it will take time for the new brain connections to kick in, for the old brain-firings to calm down, for new patterns to replace the old. There will be times it will seem that you take two steps forward and one step back, it is ok, it happens to everyone. Keep showing up for life and take it one day at the time, that’s all we got, one day, every day.
If you reach this far in the article, you might be wondering what happened to my mentee that was spending 35 hours per week on mobile phone games and social media?
Well, he did something remarkable (in my opinion). He gradually replaced one hour per day of gaming with one hour per day of reading. In less than a month, he changed a habit that was harming his sleep by something that began to inspire better thoughts, better rest and ultimately the hours of sleep we all need. Remember…
What you think you become! Think better 🙂
While all habits are not created equally, the overarching goal is the same, namely you taking more charge of your life, being more autonomous, responsible, and intentional. If you think being in a trustworthy environment can help you take the first step forward, it might make sense to look into the upcoming Walking Mentorship programs. They exist among other things to help you think better!
Purpose Review | Camino de Santiago | 18-26
Midlife | Costa Vicentina | 2-9
Spiritual Route | Rota Teresiana | 16-23
Offline | Oseira Monastery | 28-31
In the meantime, you can visit our website and discover more about what will happen in 2020. Enrolment is open, and the dates are filling in at a good pace. If you join until the 31st of December, you can save some good money, book a call to take advantage of early-bird fares. Don’t forget that you can make this investment up to four installments. Until then.
Keep walking with me
Ps* The picture from the banner was taken last October and it is a good reminder about an old habit. Every time I see something that catches my attention and helps me travel into new possibilities, I stop, observe and after making my mental notes, I capture the moment with a picture and a thank you!