If You Want to Break Bad Habits, You Need a Plan

Success occurs because a strategy was created – a strategy that involved a series of specific, purposeful steps that can be identified and followed to create positive results. Goals aren’t achievable without following a series of carefully thought-out steps. So here are some tips from A Mind Worth Fighting For to help you stay on track.

Goals and Wishes

Most people have an idea of what they want to accomplish, whether it’s to be healthier or to be more financially sound. But without a specific plan that maps out a way to reach the goal, it’s really just a wish. So what’s the big difference between having a goal and a wish?

Without a plan, you’ll likely experience repeated letdowns in reaching your goal. Each time you fall short at reaching your goal, you’ll feel increasingly unhappy until you feel overwhelmed, and ultimately, like a failure. The feeling of failure brings about feelings of depression, hopelessness, and despair. After some time, you’re ready to get back into the saddle, only to fall right back into the hole after a few days or weeks. This is why yo-yo dieting is a thing. Getting some counseling can help you get over the hurdle, especially if you’re feeling down or anxious; research your insurance or Medicare options to see what kind of assistance or therapy might be covered.

A goal takes into consideration that steps need to be followed in order to make something happen. You realize the time and effort it’s really going to take to successfully reach your goal when you have the plan mapped out in front of you. You see the big picture. “Goals always involve planning, commitment, and sacrifice,” says Hara Estroff Marano. If you really want to achieve your goal, you have to realize that the planning and sacrifices are lifelong commitments.

Be Specific

People are often too generic when setting their goals. It’s not enough to just say, “I want to be healthy.” That goal is immeasurable and indefinite, so it’s impossible to know which steps are needed to achieve it. You need to outline the series of steps necessary for achieving your goal, but first you need to get specific about your goal. Otherwise, you’ll have a goal you can’t possibly attain.

You want to be healthy. That’s good, but what one person deems as healthy may not be what another person says is healthy. Instead, say, “I drop two pants sizes by June 1 by eliminating refined sugar and limiting my daily caloric intake to 2,000. Also, I’ll walk my neighborhood four times a week for 30 minutes.” This goal is specific. It allows you to measure progress. You know when, where, and how.

Stay on Track

When you begin working toward a new goal, you’re full of enthusiasm. In the first few weeks, it’s easier to make changes and take the necessary steps toward our goal. But as time goes on, the excitement wears off, and you lose sight of your goal. And all too easily, you slide back into your old habits. Remember: yo-yo dieting.

You can have impressive and well-thought-out strategies, but you’re less likely to succeed if you don’t track and review your progress frequently. Make special notes of your improvements and slipups. You’ll notice patterns and make adjustments for slip ups and reward yourself for improvements.

A goal doesn’t have to be groundbreaking to be important. Small goals are worth working on too. Becoming more organized may seem like a small goal, but it can have positive effects on multiple areas of your life. Oftentimes, simply making one positive change can trigger other positive changes, like a chain reaction of positivity.

The mission of A Mind Worth Fighting For is to spread a message of encouragement to those suffering with depression, and more importantly, to educate people about where and how to find resources to get help for mental health and wellness. Check out our free resources and contact us today!

Special thanks to our guest author, Melissa Howard of StopSuicide.info