Do you bite your nails? Overeat junk food? Stay up too late? Yep, we’re talking about bad habits.
If you’re tired of living with your less than perfect habits, it might be time for a change. Whether you’re wanting to quit smoking or maybe hope to hit the gym (a lot) more often, you’re going to need a plan. No one defeats a habit by accident after all.
Have you considered using visualization? Visualization takes your thoughts and maps them out in such a way you see your goal already accomplished. It’s this picture in your mind (your vision, if you will) that carries you straight to the success you crave.
How? Try these three quick and easy methods:
Attack at the Heart of the Habit
What causes you to reach for the cookies? Knowing just what the motivation is for the behavior you want to change is more than half the battle. Once you get to the root of the problem, visualize the trigger in your mind. Include the words, situations, smells, whatever you can picture, which normally lead you right into the behavior and visualize a different action over what you would typically do. For example, if you eat cookies when your mom calls because she leaves you frustrated, visualize yourself taking a walk, breathing deeply the fresh air instead as a way to work off the stress.
Rewrite the Emotions
We all have emotional triggers where bad habits are concerned. In this method, identify what you feel before you dive into the habitual activity. For example, you might feel sad or jealous whenever you see your friends are doing something cool while you’re staying at home, so you reach for a beer to help bury the emotion. Instead, visualize your initial emotional response and calm it through meditation or deep breathing. Once you’ve dissipated the negative emotion, call up a positive one alternatively. What would you instead feel? Maybe you can feel content or even a little bit smug because you’re not going out and spending money. After all, you’re saving for a fantastic trip of your own.
Forget the bad habit entirely in this one. Instead, you’re going to picture the habit you want. Are you anxious to visit the gym? Picture yourself going in careful detail. Layer in positive, happy emotions about going. Make this a visualization you can desire and even crave. Create this scene often. You’ll find yourself wanting to change your action, to experience in real life what you’ve been imagining. Tada! A new habit begins!