Short answer: you can’t.
But don’t give up yet!
If you read last week’s post, you know this is Part II of “Why do we have habits?” If not, you can access it here. Having the back story helps in this case.
Habits are like Facebook lurkers–always there in the background. They never go away–kind of like that special memory of your child throwing up spaghetti in the back seat with seven more hours of drive time in front of you! Even though habits never go away, but you can successfully replace an old, undesirable habit with a new choice that improves your life.
I said I placed a hint in the last post, and it was that the morning routine was consciously interrupted by seeing your unfortunate case of bedhead to fix. “Whoa, (you thought), can’t have that!” That little act of seeing your hair, and finding it unusually unkempt, was out-of-the-pattern. You broke the chain. It was an interruption in your usual grooming routine, where something different was done during the normal chain of grooming behaviors. That’s it. If you examine your routine, and notice where you might interrupt it, you can change just a piece of it. Once you make that small change successfully, motivation builds to help you continue changing. It is similar to the momentum you feel after losing the first five pounds on a diet, so you stay the course.
To achieve deeper and more lasting change, figure out why the habit began in the first place so that you can assess the impact of keeping the old habit, and decide whether it is worth it. Sometimes the pain or the fear of change outweighs the desire to make that change. There is a lot of science that backs up change readiness, and the steps necessary to make lasting change. You can’t just take a pill, read a blog post, think about it, and boom. Thoughts must be translated into an action plan that must be carried out. Relapse can happen, but that is okay. It is all part of the process.