It’s frustrating to see how persistent our bad habits can be. Maybe it’s the 9 pm snacking free-for-all that happens every night. Or your seeming inability to drive past the drive-thru on your way to work without pulling in. Or always succumbing to temptation and pouring that second glass of wine, despite your intention to stop at one.
Whatever it is, you can clearly see that this habit is standing between you and progress. But you can’t seem to change it. Day after day, despite your best intentions, you repeat the pattern, making you feel like a failure. It seems pretty obvious that you simply don’t have the ability (or will power or strength or resolve or whatever) to change this habit.
It’s hard to keep believing that change is possible when all the evidence seems to point to the contrary. And that’s why it’s so important to collect some evidence that a different choice is possible.
If you have a long-standing habit that you want to change, not doing it for a single day is obviously not enough to undo years of daily reinforcement. But it is the beginning of showing your unconscious brain that change is, in fact, a possibility.
It’s not enough to know what we want to choose. If you have a long-standing habit that is getting in your way, start by collecting some evidence that it is possible for you to make a different choice. Even once.
Choosing something else may be uncomfortable at first but will get more and more comfortable with practice. Also, remember that habits get momentum the more you practice them – both good and bad – so make sure you fuel the good ones and starve the unwanted ones.