Examples of negative behavior are: Overeating, excessive TV/gaming/Web surfing/alcohol/smoking.
Use all resources available to help you.
Mini habits – walk 5 minutes a day
Curate your environment – throw out snacks, booze. Put away video games, TV remotes. Stock cupboard with healthy snacks like fruit and nuts.
Create autopilot habits that need little effort and guide you into the right direction – exercise first thing after work, create recurring health-conscious grocery list, batch cook healthy meals.
Be kind to yourself – if you fall off the bandwagon don’t beat yourself up. Rather objectively look at how it happened and how to avoid the mistake.
Be aware of triggers – what sets you off to want to drink or smoke? Being at bars or around friends doing it? Avoid those triggers.
Journal – this is so important. Often we are not aware of our behaviors that lead up to the bad habit. If we journal in detailed manner, we will gather the evidence we need to assess the situation. Journaling is the reality mirror. Be as accurate as possible. Write down what you do and exactly how you do it. Like got up at midnight and ate a whole pint of ice cream. We can’t fix what we don’t measure.
Don’t tell others what you are doing. Research shows that telling others about your plans affects the brain in a similar way to actually doing the plan. It erodes hunger and desire to follow through with your plan. Some people think telling others will put you in a position of accountability but in reality the effect on your brain as experiencing it and thinking it’s done is a stronger influence. It is good to have an accountability partner, this is different than bragging about your plans then not following through. The accountability partner is a single person or group that works with you to get it done. They can be exercise partners, moral support, or others with the same goal offering a bit of FRIENDLY competition (how many steps did you do today, I did 15K steps…)
The marshmallow test.
Willpower is an exhaustive and renewable resource. Use willpower like tinder to start a fire. The fire is the good habit or behavior. Use willpower sparingly. Problem is many people rely too much on willpower.
To build a fire you must start with a spark and tinder. Then catch small twigs on fire, then sticks, then eventually the large logs which can burn for hours.
Strategies can steer you away from temptations and vices. Distract yourself with exercise and activities. Use habits to guide your behavior into the right direction.
Be patient – many people give up too soon. Big change takes a while. But try to keep progressing. Sometimes we hit a plateau because we are not trying hard enough. The most growth happens outside your comfort zone.
Remember you can’t reach your personal best every day. When we hit a PR we get excited and try to exceed it every day. Of course a PR is a peak, this won’t be a daily occurrence. Sadly we get demotivated if we can’t be doing better every subsequent day. Don’t let that stop your progress. Chart your average and track that, the average is much more important over time than individual PR’s. But when you do hit a PR make sure to celebrate your hard work.
Make sure you are performing deliberate practice if your goal is to perfect a technique. Masterful coaching is also very important. And 10k hours.