Creative Life in Motion Blog


How To Change a Habit | 7 Step Formula

podcast Feb 06, 2019
How To Change a Habit | 7 Step Formula

Habit is something that is done without thinking about it. There are good habits, and not so good habits. Usually they have a trigger attached to them. I don't believe we were born with habits. We also have the power to change them.

Motivation is brought on by a decision to change something in our surroundings. It can be as simple as standing up to get a second cup of coffee, or as big as cleaning out the clutter in the closet. It is temporary, but has a strong fuel source if it is accompanied by why. For example..really WANTING to change a habit.

Discipline is the follow through on the motivation. It's the recognition of the motivation, and the actions that follow even after the emotion of motivation has long since fizzled.

We did not come out of the womb brushing our teeth, but we don’t need to be reminded to do it. We just do. The reward is that fresh confidence of a clean mouth. Not to mention low dental bills.

Good news, all habits can be created, or broken.

Today let’s keep the topic on breaking unhealthy habits. These are things that we know can’t go on forever. Whatever it is, big or small we know we need to stop, but it feels overwhelming, or in some cases impossible.

There are 7 steps.

  1. Identify the problem habit.
  2. Decide.
  3. Identify the triggers.
  4. Solve the trigger. That could mean replacement, solution, or complete termination.
  5. Set a date to stop the habit.
  6. Follow through.
  7. Reward yourself.

This template can be used with any habit. It does not always go in order though.

For example, when my son was a little over 2, it was time to let go of his nighttime bottle. It was a habit that I let him develop. It put him to sleep every night, however as he got older, for obvious reasons, it had to come to an end.

 The trigger was bedtime. This was a tough one. Bedtime can not be avoided, and there really weren’t replacements. I knew I might face weeks of agony and guilt, while I send my little boy crying to bed and I didn’t think that was going to be fun for anyone.

He had to decide. How do you get a 2 year old to decide? I led with the reward.

We set a date to have a “Bye Bye Bottle Party.”

Every morning we looked at the calendar to see the day approaching. I reminded him daily that he was a big boy, so he didn’t really need the bottles anymore.

When the day came we had his favorite breakfast of pancakes and mashed bananas, we baked a cake together, wore party hats, and even made up a song.

Then the time came to say goodbye, and I lined up his 3 bottles and chewed nipples, and asked him to put them in the garbage bag I was holding open for him.

Together, we marched down to the apartment complex dumpster. I crouched down to look into his big, excited green eyes, and I reminded him they wouldn’t be coming back in the house. He nodded and raised his arms for me to lift him up.

So with that, I lifted him up, we said “ Bye, bye bottles! “ and he tossed them into the dumpster. As I put him down, and began to ask him if he was okay, he excitedly exclaimed, ”I’m a big boy now!” We marched back upstairs and proceeded to have cake.

That night at bedtime came the trigger and  follow through. He asked for his bottle, one last time , but quickly remembered, and as I tucked him in, he smiled and said , “I’m a big boy now!”

No tears, no agony, and no looking back.

Some things may be harder than others, but I’ve used this formula for everything from quitting smoking, to nighttime snacking, and obsessively weighing myself.

Whatever it is you need to do, want to do, know you have to do, you hold the power. If you think you can’t then I’m here to tell you, you are wrong.

You got this!





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