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The habits that we are trying to break have usually been built up over many years. This slow process means that the actions have become adopted by our subconscious and become automatic. A good example of this subconscious automatic behaviour is looking left and right when crossing the road; changing gears while driving. When you were learning to drive this action was difficult and most certainly required concentration. But after several months or years the action becomes embedded within the subconscious and becomes automatic. This is just like our bad habits. It also explains why techniques like hypnotherapy and NLP are effective against long term habits like smoking – they address the problem in the unconscious mind not just the conscious one.
Logic dictates that something built up over years will be difficult to undo in a day, week or even month. Here are some steps to help you be successful.
1 – Change is a process. Be patient. Habits that have taken years to learn may also take a while to undo. Some habits and addictions may require effort for years, perhaps the rest of your life. So be patient, and stick at it for the long term.
2 – Get help. It can be unrealistic to try to change on your own. Get the help and support of friends and family. In many cases professional help may be needed. A personal trainer, hypnotherapist, behaviourist, therapist or doctor may be the difference between success and failure.
3 – Just pick one resolution. Spreading yourself too thin can lead to failure. It’s better instead to pick one thing you would like to change and focus all your energy on that.
4 – Plan ahead. Don’t necessarily wait until New Year’s Day. Start at a time in your life when there are not too many pressures around; begin planning by noting down things you would like to change. Pick one. Then note down what you might have to do to change it and any obstacles you may encounter.
5 – Small steps. Don’t kill it at the start. Cut calories a bit at a time. Jog for 2 minutes, walk for 1. Build it up from there. Making it too hard at the start can lead to failure.
6 – Expect setbacks. Giving up after a small setback is very common. Weight loss is a good example. We do not lose weight at a consistent rate regardless of how good we have been. You may have had a really good week, but the scales don’t reflect this. The key is to have another really good week, and more than likely you will get nearly 2 good week’s worth of weight loss. We see this in personal training clients all the time.
Good luck, you can totally totally do it! Really. If in doubt, get help!