There are many myths about habit change and I'm curious to explore how many I can find to debunk. What you believe about habit change is what you will create in your life.
Although it is well know that knowledge doesn't necessarily equate to habit change, it does begin to crack our mental models over time.
Here are 5 myths that Eric Schmieder's shared in his 2018 article: 5 Myths about habit formation...busted with my commentary.
A lack of willpower is to blame for our bad habits. There are several reason why we are not able to stick with a change and it's not because of our lack of willpower. In fact, the key to habit formation is not using willpower. You have to make the habits small and easy to execute.
Learning about the benefits of new habits helps change our behavior. I think everyone has figured this one out. No matter how much you learn, it doesn't necessarily equate to changing behaviors. Changing your environment to prevent or lessen the chances of engaging in behavior you want to change is key. Shifting your environment works better than having a ton of knowledge.
You can form habits through motivation. As Motivational Guru, Zig Ziglar, famously said, "motivation doesn't last, well neither does bathing, that's why you have to do it daily." The reality is that most people don't feel like doing whatever it is they desire to do on a daily basis. You have to have systems in place that will trigger you to perform a small action toward your goal. With a system in place, you don't have to rely solely on motivation, though it is an important part of the equation.
Change Is Difficult. To be honest, I sort of believe this myth, but am learning to make installing new habits easier. As I discover and learn new methods, I will share what I've learned based on my personal and researched experiences. From what I've read so far, change is not as difficult as we make it out to be. Sometimes we need to find the right methodology to make change stick and it often starts with making small, incremental steps not big leaps.
Going Cold Turkey Is the Only Way. This method may work for many people, but it's not the only way. Making small incremental changes toward your goal over time is just as effective and more sustainable. The danger in going cold turkey is that people fault themselves if they slip back into old patterns, which makes it challenging to start again because people have the tendency to beat themselves up. B.J. Fogg, the Author or Tiny Habits reminds us that we change best by feeling good, not bad.
Cheering you on,