4 1/2 Ways to Change a Habit

Today I heard from  one of my clients who is working on two of my home study courses, Relationships from the Inside Out and Weight Loss from the Inside Out. This week she was working on a lesson called 4 1/2 Ways to Create Change and she had two quesitons. I thought they were worth sharing with you. She asked how these ideas would apply to having financial problems and wanting to eat sweets.

A person can solve the problem externally, called a Real World solution. It requires interacting with the world outside ourselves to get what we want.

When we can’t get our solution from the Real World, then we have to turn our attention inward to what we can do to fix the problem.The second option is to do or think something different. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you know how the saying goes . . . you’ll keep getting what you always got. The third option is called changing what you want, or more accurately the priorities of what you want. Often to change habits to you have prioritize what you really want over what you want right now. Another way is to change your perception of either the habit you are trying to change or the new habit you are attemting to substitute. We often perceive giving up the old habit as a restriction of our freedom and engaging in the new habit as hard or undesireable.

And finally, the last way, called the 4 1/2 way is because it doesn’t actually get you want you want, but as the Rolling Stones said, it can get you what you need. If none of your interventions work or you can’t have what you want or you can’t have it right now, then you want to look at this last option. Figure our which need(s), survival, love & belonging, power, freedom, or fun is/are being met by engaging in the habit you want to change. When identified, then it’s always possible to get more of what you need even if you can’t have specifically what you want.

4.5 Ways to Create Change: Finances

  1. Real World Solution: Either you or your husband get a part-time job to make more money or you reduce your spending to fit in your current budget.
  2. Behavior: You have to do or think something different. So if spending is the issue, assess your triggers and avoid them. Don’t go to the mall for fun or surf the web where you will be tempted to buy things.
  3. Quality World: You can’t take spending out of your Quality World but you may be able to add something contrary in there. Living debt-free might be your new Quality World picture. Stay focused on that. Every time you want to spend, ask yourself the question, “Is whatever I want to buy right now more important than my financial freedom?”
  4. Perception: This is where you have shifted your perception from perceiving your problem as a restriction of freedom to playing a game. Great!
  5. Need: Ask yourself what need spending meets for you and then find another way to meet that need. It suspect it may be freedom. If freedom is the issue, then find ways to feel free and independent with choices that don’t cost money.

So let’s look at the cookie:

4.5 Ways to Create Change: Eating Sweets

  1. Real World: Stop buying sweets. Don’t have them in your office or your home. Avoid that isle in the grocery store. Make sure you always have healthy alternatives in your bag when you find yourself in situations where you are tempted.
  2. Behavior: Start acting and thinking differently about food. Remember, food is supposed to provide us energy, that’s it. If good health is what you want, then be conscious when you eat by asking yourself, “Am I really hungry?” “Can I wait to eat this?”
  3. Quality World: You want to keep your QW picture of the reason you want to lose weight foremost in your QW. It will help to keep reminding yourself of the long-term goal you are attempting to accomplish. Often, making changes to our habits involve giving up what we want right now for what we really want. You may have to ask yourself questions like, “Is the good feeling I’m going to get from this cookie really more important than (whatever your reason for losing weight is)?” Another great affirmation I’ve borrowed from Jack Canfield is: “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.”
  4. Perception: Change your perception of sweets from “tasting good” to “poison to my body” and start perceiving that every time you eat sweets you are not rewarding yourself, you are poisoning yourself. This may be helpful. Another way to experience freedom in the restriction is to tell yourself, “I could eat this right now. I just don’t want to.”
  5. Need: Find out what need you are meeting. From what you’ve alluded to in your emails, I suspect it might be freedom, but don’t just accept that because I think so. Really look at your behavior and determine for yourself. But whatever the need, you find other ways to meet it. If it is freedom, you will want to find ways to get your freedom need met that don’t cost money or involve food. Let me know if this helps or if you have further questions.

Have you ever changed a habit? Which method did you use?

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