"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Dysfunctional Habits: Trapped By Your Triggers

Old Habits versus Change messages

Knowing your triggers, your short fuses, is crucial to learning and substituting new behavior. If you are not aware of (and alert for) what triggers a toxic routine you will be challenged to change because you will be repeating the old pattern before you know it; trapped by your triggers!

Triggers tend to fall into five categories: Location, Time, Emotional state, People, and the immediately preceding action i.e. the Cue.

We tend to drink at bars but not in churches, we tend to eat, hungry or not, at set times, we are more likely to curse when we are tired, upset or impatient, certain folks tend to bring out certain learned reactions within us and hearing certain political opinions or seeing a given cultural emblem (a “Cue” or immediately preceding action) evokes a predictable response.

Reclaiming your personal power requires 1) Motivation, 2) Trigger Awareness, 3) A Substitute Pattern, and 4) A Plan to Cope with Stumbles.

We spend most of our lives in Plan B (at least! Maybe Plan C, D or E!). Understand that implementing anything rarely goes smoothly, mentally prepare for setbacks and understand that it is both normal and not the end of the world. Accepting this inoculates you against discouragement when the path proves difficult. I like the analogy of a rock climber strapped into a safety harness: you may fall, but only a short distance; recovery comes quickly because you prepared for setbacks.

Wealth is having good choices, a wise person creates options; your habits, no matter how dysfunctional, serve a purpose, fulfill a need, even if imagined or created by our fears or insecurities. The best way to change an undesirable pattern is find a new, more empowering one to take its place.

Many change initiatives sputter out because the motivation was insufficient. Want Power trumps Will Power all day long. The key is to use Visualization to create a driving “why”, stoke high the fires of Desire to create a Burning Reason Why Change MUST occur. See the benefits, see the new you, see it as real, dwell on it, see yourself as unable to behave or be any other way.

To build an effective new habit, you need five essential components: a reason, a trigger, a micro-habit, effective practice, and a plan.

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

 

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