Resolutions are to New Years what gifts are to Christmas and many people are enthralled of the changes they hope to see. For many it seems like the perfect time to set really big goals for the lifestyle improvements, changes and progress they would like to experience in life. Sometimes we set goals that are too challenging for us at the moment, given our current level of self-discipline, courage, etc. Maybe you’ve set some resolutions for yourself this new year, or maybe you’re one of those that set goals all-around the clock and at any time of the year, but the setting of goals suggests that we’d all like to experience some growth in some area in our life.
Everybody has weaknesses, areas for improvement that they’d like to work on. Sometimes we don’t accept them and attempt to justify them or cover them up like they’re not hurting us in some way. Most of us will spend our lives fighting these inner- or external- demons and some of us never win, but recognize that you’re ultimately responsible. You may find support, but this is your own battle, no one else can fight for you.
So what can you do? The first step is to get some clarity. Know yourself. Whatever areas of life you’re looking to improve. Name your weaknesses. Got too many? Name the weakest link.
The Snake in Us
Now these weaknesses probably come up again and again in your life, nagging you. Not all weaknesses are that important to the point that you’ve got to get rid of them, but sometimes you may find your current habits are what is holding you down. You may not even be aware of them. That’s the nature of a snake. But if you allow a snake to live, it will keep on biting you; maybe even end up killing you because you let it.
So cut the grass low and let the snake’s head show. Ask people what your vices/weaknesses are and brace yourself for some things you probably won’t be willing to accept.
Sometimes you can’t kill a snake because you think you’re cutting off its head, but it’s really its tail. But if you’re serious about these goals and improvements that you’re looking to make you’ve got to kill it and leave nothing left.
Ways to Kill a Snake
Suffocate it– Never allow it to breathe or develop. Easier said than done right? Just say no…to the mall, the guys, the women, or whatever it is that acts as a stimulant.
Overfeed it– Is it that bad? Something like a porn or food addiction? Overindulge to the point that you won’t even want anymore-unless, you’re an alcoholic or drug-user, or something else along those lines, in this case, please skip on to the next tip. Eat ‘til you can’t eat anymore, then have someone record how awful you sound moaning about the pains and how you look. Have them save you the tape, or better yet put it on YouTube to serve as a reminder. Keep over-drafting to the point where…never mind, bad idea.
Of course you don’t have to go this far. When it comes to breaking habits like game-playing, random web-surfing and the likes, there ,should come a point when you’ve out-played your games and myspaced until there’s nothing more you can do with it.
Poison it– Allow a bad experience to turn you off. I remember a former alcoholic co-worker telling me how he’s stayed sober for so long. He still gets the urge. It never completely goes away, but every second he feels the urge, he just plays back a mental tape of all the bad experiences he’s had with alcohol-friends in jail, car accidents, etc. I do the same sort of thing whenever I feel I’m craving some meat- I went vegetarian almost a year ago.
Cut off its head– Get to the root of the problem. Ask yourself why you do it. Dig deep into that question. What quality or values are you aiming to achieve by continuing to do this? Now work actively to eliminate it by making it a top priority and dedicating your immediate focus and efforts to it.
Burn the field and replant– Got negative friends? Why keep ‘em around? Cut ‘em off. Reinforce your environment/lifestyle to support the changes you would like to see. What habits and ways of life keep you doing whatever it is that you are doing?
Kill the babies– Eliminate related thoughts and behaviors. How do you think right before you perform that action you’re trying to stop? Whenever I think about going to buy myself some chicken and break my commitment to being a vegetarian I slow down and ask myself why. It’s usually because I am hungry and my mind is in survival-mode. When I’m in survival-mode, I get real impulsive and I think like this: hungry>get food>fried chicken>yummy. But when I slow down, I just remember to eat something and that I probably haven’t ate in a while.
With habit change, you’ve really got to get in touch with your thought processes and dominant fundamental beliefs to be really effective. After that, not to say it’s going to be smooth sailing but it definitely gets easier.
What are some of your vices or bad habits that you’re looking to eliminate? What are the new habits your looking to replace them with?