Converting undesired behaviors/habits to productive ones
"First you make your habits, then your habits make you!" - Lucas Remmerswaal
and you can make a New Habit out of an old one starting Now!
Each of us have Habits which when we commit to and follow through we know that we will benefit from them. It could be going to the Gym, practicing a musical instrument, reading, planning your day,etc.
But instead of engaging in these productive behaviors, we might sometimes be thinking about how difficult it is, how we cant do it or we might be engaging in behaviors that are not useful for our well-being.
However, we can shift our energy and focus from these undesired behaviors to build productive behaviors that support us.
All through my college days i had developed the habit of waking up early as my classes began at half past seven and i had to travel for a half hour to get there. I would wake up at the first sound of my alarm going off. However, after i started working, i had some work days that extended past midnight and very soon i had fallen into the habit of staying up late and waking up late even if i had planned the previous night to get an early start. I decided to change this vicious nocturnal cycle that hardly made it possible for me to take a walk in the morning or wish my parents a 'Good day!' before they left for work, both of which constituted a 'Good start for the day' to me.
I had recently learnt NLP and decided this was a good opportunity for me to capitalize on my learning. I decided to use the 'Swish' Process for behavioral change. I wish to share my story and the process so you can benefit from applying this immediately as well.
I noticed that i had gotten into the habit of 'Dismiss'ing the alarm notifications on my phone and going back to sleep.
So here is the Swish Process:
- Identify the behavior you want to change and become aware of the context (where and when you are doing this behavior).
- Get an 'Associated' experience of the context and behavior i.e In your mind, Remember what in your experience triggers this behavior and what you see, what you hear, what you feel as you begin to exhibit this undesired behavior.
- Decide on what New and Productive 'desired' behavior you want to do instead. Make a 'Dissociated' picture/video of the desired behavior i.e In your mind, make a picture/video where you see yourself doing the desired behavior. Move the picture closer/farther or add/change colors to make it more compelling for you. Run it through a few times and tweak it till you come up with a practical & Compelling representation of your desired behavior. Minimize it to the lower corner of your mind's screen. Open your eyes to pay attention to the present moment.
- Now, think of the context where you do the undesired behavior and as you notice the trigger and begin to run the experience of the old behavior, with a 'SWIIISSSHHH' sound in your mind notice this old experience minimizing and disappearing while simultaneously Maximizing the picture/video of the 'desired' behavior. Open your eyes to pay attention to the present moment.
- Repeat step 4 until you automatically run the experience of the desired behavior.
I started to notice the change in my behavior the very next morning. Now, as soon as i see the alarm notification on my phone, i see a video of me stepping out of bed, taking a deep breath and feeling fresh. I see the trees, hear the birds chirping and feel the freshness of the breeze in the park where i take a walk. And i practically do what's on my mind.
I start my days when i want to now.
And as an entrepreneur, it has been imperative for me to be able to develop productive habits, be responsible and self-disciplined and this process has been useful in this regard.
One can use the same process with different behaviors in different contexts. I invite you to take on a behavior/habit you Want to build for yourself. Re-read and Do the process if you haven't already. And I am eager to know how its going for you. So, Do share with us your experience of using the process and the results you have produced.
To Your Excellence,