Manage Your Negative Habits: Eliminate Your Payoffs Part I

Manage Your Negative Habits: Eliminate Your Payoffs Part I
by (c) 1999-2001 Dr. Sharon House, Master Certified Coach

Recently, Dr. Phil McGraw, the author of "Life Strategies" sat down with four women on Oprah to talk about why they haven't been able to take their excess weight off. It was music to my ears… here, finally, was someone talking about what I have said for years… to manage your life, eliminate your payoffs and you'll manage your weight.

Exactly the same thing applies when it comes to managing negative habits. So often I hear folks talk about wanting to eliminate habits but complaining that they can't get themselves to follow through. They feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and angry with themselves for their 'lack of willpower' to stick to the agreements they have made with themselves. What they don't realize is that it has nothing at all to do with willpower! It's not even the behavior change that frightens them as much as the thought of what it might entail, along the way, to get what they want!

We are not random creatures. Everything we do, we do for a reason. Everything we do has a payoff of some sort that at some level serves us. We may not consciously be aware of what the payoff is, but "it" is there waiting to be discovered and uncovered. It will be discovered only if we are willing to shine the light inwardly and admit the unvarnished truth - "I am a procrastinator (or _____________fill in the blank with your negative habit) and will remain a procrastinator (or_________________fill in the blank) as long as there is a payoff for me in doing so!"

The truth is most people work much harder at hanging on to what they currently have than moving towards taking the (often) courageous actions and risks that may be necessary to start working hard at finding solutions and creating strategies to get them what they say they truly want.

Think of something you procrastinated about at some time in your life. What finally happened to change your mind and propel you into action? Did you suddenly feel the pain and pressure to "just do it" and get on with your life? Did the thought of the consequences of not taking action become more painful than the thought of continuing to put up with the negative energy drain it was creating in your life?

Anything you want that holds value for you will require that you make a choice between holding on to old negative payoffs or moving towards creating positive new payoffs. Negative payoffs such as feeble excuses, unconvincing rationalizations, flimsy reasons, past painful experiences, negatives attitudes and "fully automated" behaviors (such as nail biting) must be traded for positive payoffs in the form of solutions and strategies that pull you towards creating the long term results you want most. The bottom line is: You've got to lose those old payoffs to gain new, life enhancing ones to get to where you want to be. As Emerson once said, "There is no loss without gain, and no gain without loss."

Creating awareness around the payoff for the behavior is the first step towards resolution. The second step is examining the specific behavior in detail to help foster understanding. With understanding, you can then proceed to the third step of designing and implementing a strategy for change.

One of the key ingredients to long term habit change is learning to live your life in the present, responding to things that are real and not hanging on to your fears of what was (the past) or what might be (the future). When it comes to habit change and management, it is essential that you live in the present and take it one day, even one little success, at a time.

Carpe diem! Seize the day, my friends! And remember, the only thing that ever sits its way to ultimate success is a hen and it's time to get moving to the next step: Request the article "The 3 Keys to Changing Negative Habits", a step by step process for examining your negative behavior and coming up with workable solutions by sending a blank e-mail to: The 3 Keys to Changing Negative Habits

Internationally known as "the House Doctor with your "Prescriptions for Success", Dr. Sharon House is a creative, intuitive, and solution oriented master certified personal and business coach. Visit her at her two websites, or http://www. While your there, visit the InstaCoach Village Post Office and subscribe to her two online newsletters, Success Express and Focus Words to Live By.

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