I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I accidentally stumbled on today's tip – even though much of my personal growth and development as well as teachings over the years have been the result of intensive study, research, practice and dedication.
Just goes to show you that you always have to be open to trying and observing new things right?
Let me come right out and state the method and then I'll follow with a quick example.
When you are trying to break a bad habit or change your behavior in any way instead of trying to stop, limit, eliminate, or scale back that behavior try substituting a new behavior that would in-effect, replace the old behavior with a new one instead.
In other words, instead of placing your focus on the "negative" side of taking something away from yourself or your life, try giving something new TOWARD yourself that ends up replacing the negative behavior.
Why Does Positive Substitution Work?
As humans when we focus on "taking away" something we tend to lament over all of the negatives of taking that behavior away.
If we remove a food we like then we focus on all of the negatives of removing that food, if we focus on removing alcohol, our mind snaps to all of the negatives of not having alcohol to "calm us" or "help us socially", etc…
But, if we look at things differently and instead…
We add a new healthy food to our diet that will end up taking the place of the other "bad" food – then we will focus on all of the benefits, excitement and positive aspect of the new food rather than lamenting on the negative side of removing something else.
I actually came to this conclusion as I spoke with a friend who wanted to bring her drinking under control in the New Year.
She had tried to do this for the last 3 New Year's to no avail (her resolve only lasted 2-weeks at best)
This year, instead she focused on an entirely new life plan, a newly structured diet along with regular gym workouts and now finds that alcohol use has dropped considerably simply because she is so focused and excited about the new life plan that she doesn't think about eating the bad foods she used to, has less stress so doesn't need to drink as much, has new friends that are like-minded in their healthy lifestyle pursuits and so has reduced the "bad influence" factor – all with the combined impact of breaking bad habits without really focusing on the negative side of giving up previously desired behaviors.
You will find this approach incredibly powerful as our brains respond much better to inserting positive new behaviors than eliminating long-held negative ones.
We will explore this technique in more ways into 2015 – but for now, pick one of the behaviors you would most like to change – then highlight a substitute behavior that would "squeeze" that old behavior out without really even trying.
If you have an example, go ahead and post it as a comment here.
Here's to finally breaking your worst habits in the New Year