How Do I Change a Habit? Think of It Like a Walk in the Forest
I like to think about it a little like a walk in the forest.
Imagine walking in the forest, I live close to Thetford Forest in the UK and love to go walking.
It's really easy and there are several pre-planned walks I can choose.
To follow the route, I need to look out for the markers along the way, a red, yellow, or blue stripe on a post.
The paths are well trodden so are easy to walk, without weeds, the only thing that may hinder progress is the leaves in autumn which I love to kick about.
How imagine as you walk along the path you glance through the trees, and decide you want to explore and find your own way.
You step off the well-trodden path and notice it is much more difficult as the ground is covered with brambles and bracken.
However you are determined to keep going so taking it very slowly you pick your way through.
Eventually you come to another 'trodden path' and continue your walk.
What you had in fact done was cut a corner off your walk.
Now imagine cutting this same corner every day.
You are beginning to create a new path and each day you walk it there will be less and less resistance.
Just imagine for a moment that you are the only person using this part of the forest - what will be happening to the old path? That's right, it will gradually become overgrown, however this will take quite a while.
There will be several weeks where it would be easier to use the old path than the new one and then a few weeks when there isn't much to choose between them.
During this time you may sometimes use the old path and could easily give up on the new one.
However there will come a time when the new path is easy and well-trodden and the old path is so overgrown you don't even consider it.
Our habits are just the same.
So when you are changing an old behaviour pattern, be aware that there will be times when it seems easier to go back to the old well-trodden behaviour, however the more you choose the new behaviour the easier it will become and the less inviting the old behaviour becomes.
It is important during this time to remind yourself why you are changing and all the benefits that await you as you make progress and tread the path.