It’s a new year and many people have resolved to reach new goals for 2014. There tends to be a great deal of enthusiasm for creating resolutions, but what many don’t consider is how to break bad habits that lead to self-sabotage. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to reach new goals if bad habits are holding you back. Here are 5 habits to eliminate to ensure you reach your goals this year.
Procrastination is a dream killer that leads many to sabotage themselves. Have you ever wondered why you just can’t seem to do what you need to on time? Do you struggle with keeping schedules? For many, procrastination is a direct response to stress. When we feel pressured, the body’s stress response, also known as the “fight or flight” response, takes over. Procrastination is a form of avoidance that happens when we feel overtaxed mentally or emotionally. To break the procrastination habit; you need to address the underlying cause of stress, whether it’s time management, being disorganized or feeling overwhelmed.
Another self-sabotaging habit is being disorganized. Whether it’s chaotic thoughts or a workspace that doesn’t function well; clutter in any form is destructive. Organization is key to managing larger projects and goals in an organized manner. The best way to do this is to break things down. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds and improve your health, that’s a great goal, but where do you begin?
Determine all the steps that comprise the larger goal. Weight loss goals involve much more than working up a sweat. You have to learn about nutrition, portion control, safe exercise habits, counting calories, overcoming emotional eating etc. Starting off with everything facing you at once can be overwhelming and cause you to give up before you really get started. Breaking down all the facets can help you find workable monthly, weekly and daily goals.
For example for January you might focus on researching nutrition and walking 30 minutes per day. The following month, you might add in different exercise and start counting calories. Next, you may add onto those new habits by exploring emotional eating patterns and how to overcome them.
Breaking larger goals down into smaller good habits you can build on, brings those loftier goals down to Earth and makes them easier to achieve. Not every goal has to be all at once, which leads into the next bad habit to break.
Impatience and seeking instant gratification can sabotage long-term goals. It’s easier to give up when results are not immediate. Keep a journal of your larger goals and every day keep track of the steps you are taking to reach that goal. If your dream is to have your own business; each day do something that helps you work towards that goal whether it’s research, planning or learning new skills. Keep records of your progress where you can see them at a glance. This can provide that instant shot of motivation when you need to satisfy that need for instant gratification. Doing this daily provides a continuous stream of motivation.
Inconsistency sets people up for failure. You cannot expect to reach goals without having a plan and sticking to it. Developing new habits to replace old ones and having daily and weekly targets is the best way to maintain the momentum required to reach larger goals.
Finally, discipline is a necessary component to any major goal. Discipline should not be confused with punishment. Discipline keeps it positive and is motivating; punishment and coming down on yourself is a form of sabotage that invites failure. Good examples of discipline are developing positive habits, rewarding yourself for reaching goals, and motivating yourself to stay on target by seeking support when necessary. Any form of negative self-talk, deprivation or belittlement is a form of self-sabotage that needs to be re-channeled in more positive directions. Think about it, most of us push away or rebel when being berated. The same happens even when the source of scrutiny is the inner critic. Change the way you relate to yourself and you will change your entire world for the better.
Overcoming these 5 habits will ensure that you can reach any goal you set for yourself. Here’s to an inspired and empowered new year!