Why Do Old Habits Die Hard?

Filed Under (Life Coaching & NLP) on 31-03-2010

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Why is it hard to stop smoking, lose weight, etc?

For two reasons:

1. Because, if we go with the examples of stopping smoking and losing weight, both are stated in the negative.  The words stop and lose are prompts to a negative state.  If you are required to stop something, you’re stopping an action.  Stop for a red traffic light = you’re halting the action of going.  If you lose something, you make something disappear from your life.  If you lose your keys, you don’t have them.  That’s what  stated in the negative means.

2. Because people have the tendency to go from all to nothing in the space of one breath.  “I’m stopping smoking from tomorrow.  This is the last cigarette in my life.”  Or: “I better enjoy this cake, because from tomorrow I won’t be eating cakes anymore.”  Sounds [at least vaguely] familiar?

Let’s look at this second reason.  The core of changing easily is to incorporate the positive byproducts of what we’re currently doing into the change and our life after the change.   2 examples:

1. Stopping smoking.   You wouldn’t be doing it if there wasn’t some benefit in it.  So what was it doing for you?  The answer will be the positive byproduct of smoking.   And looking deeper we’ll find more.  If you were so diligently consistent at smoking, you have diligence and consistency as two positive byproducts which you can use in doing something else after you stop smoking.  Commitment is another.  How committed were you to smoking [= to whatever smoking was doing for you]?  Pretty firmly, right?  Get the idea?

2. Exactly the same applies to losing weight or anything else you wish to change.  If you had a skill at [again] consistently choosing foods that would taste good but make you fat, then you showed a strong skill of picking the wrong foods.  This skill of choosing things of one category is your positive byproduct which you can apply to your new habit to replace your current eating.  Perhaps choosing nutritionally valuable foods with such consistency, commitment, diligence, and …what else? …  will serve as an example.

Do you know someone who could earn a million a month and would still have no money [if not be in debt]?  And do you know someone who earns less than you and always has money for everything – and even left over?  Both individuals exhibit certain skills.  How could you – based on what you’ve read here – point out to the person with chronic lack of money what his/her positive byproducts of (mis)managing money were?  And how could s/he implement those skills or positive byproducts to managing money more prosperously?   What of what this person is doing now is valuable and worth keeping and incorporating into his/her future life?

Contact me for more help with “stopping smoking”, “losing weight”, or changing another bad habit with NLP.

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