Emotions are the biggest driver when we have to decide if we want to do a behavior. There’s a strong correlation between how you feel when you do the behavior and the likelihood the behavior will be repeated. Acknowledge your emotions and decide if they are relevant to making the decision. Be aware of the emotions that aren’t helping you get what you want. What do you need to let go of? Motivation spikes with desire, excitement or fear. When you watch others behave it’s easy to see how our brain rationalizes a counter productive behavior choice. But with yourself it’s much more difficult to see past your emotions. With a New Year’s resolution, you’ll experience a motivation spike because a desire and excitement for change in the new year. Once that new year excitement wears off, you’ll likely return to your old ways if you’re relying on motivation alone.
Don’t define yourself by the behavior choices you have been making. Doing so will make you feel poorly about yourself and make it more difficult to change. Think of your behaviors as a recipe and you just need the right ingredients. Addicts struggle abstaining from drugs due to such a strong dopamine induced connection with taking the drug. To hack this reward system, use an immediate (milliseconds) personal celebration to make that neuro-chemical connection and turn that healthy behavior into a habit. Maintain curiosity, objectivity, and disconnection when observing your behaviors. For successful behavior change, break down aspirations into tiny habits (less than 30 seconds to complete) and use your mistakes to make your adjustments. Tiny habits create reliable success building momentum leading to a shift in your identity. You will begin to see yourself as someone who can make positive changes in your life. Learn to ride the ups and downs, change is the only constant.