To break deeply imbedded habits like overeating, impulse eating or exercise procrastination takes more than sheer will power. Our own resolve is often not enough. We also need reinforcement from people and programs that can hold us accountable and responsible. This sense of responsibility to someone or something other than ourselves becomes more powerful than our changing moods or circumstances and we find the strength to keep the promises and resolutions we make. For example, if we begin by getting up early in the morning to have a healthy breakfast, we will earn our first victory of the day, albeit a private one, and we’ll gain a certain sense of self-mastery. We can then move on to more public victories during the rest of the day. And, as we deal well with each new challenge, we unleash within ourselves a fresh capacity to soar to new heights.

Most of us make two fundamental mistakes as we try to change our habit patterns. Firstly, we really don’t have a clear knowledge of who we are. We fail to see that we are not our habits, which can be made and broken. Without being secure in this knowledge, we are likely to mistake our habits for our identity and so, resolving to change a habit will feel a threat to the security of our identity. Secondly, we don’t have a clear picture of who we want to become, so our resolutions are easily uprooted, we get discouraged and give up. Replacing a deeply imbedded bad habit with a good one involves much more than being temporarily “psyched up” by some simplistic success formula, such as “think positively” or “try harder.” It takes a deep understanding of ourself and a willingness to learn and face potential failure in order to grow.

There are four stages of learning that each of us goes through as we learn something new.  To be continued…


Patrick Gamboa -International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)