Changing destructive habits and behaviors is not a matter of luck or happenstance. It takes a deliberate effort and energy to redefine the course of one’s life. This reminds me of the word that is used mainly in the corporate world and the business books, the word is paradigm shift. Cambridge English Dictionary defines paradigm shift as “a situation in which the usual and accepted way of doing or thinking about something changes completely”. You might feel the need deep inside to affect a 360-degree change in your life because some habits and behaviors are not serving any useful purpose to your goals and dreams. They are killing your health, career, finances and all that is important in your life. The main question is, how do you shift your paradigm to create a better life that is fulfilling for you and your loved ones?
Let’s look at the following four factors and shift gears towards a fulfilling life:
- Identify and acknowledge your destructive habits
There is an African Proverb that says, “It is the one who lives in the house who knows where the roof leaks” Our individual “roofs” may be leaking due to destructive habits such as overeating, gambling, alcohol abuse, anger, revenge and many other examples. Unfortunately, most of us refuse to acknowledge that the roof is in fact leaking. Instead people, remain hopeful that the hole in the roof will mend itself. Some turn a blind eye and define a leak as icy droplets of fog. If you cannot name the problem, how will you know what you are dealing with. This will not stop the problem, instead it will exacerbate it. You need to acknowledge the problem to bring a stop to it.
- Remove the roots
Some behaviours can be likened to tree roots that go deeper into the ground. Don’t get me wrong, trees are beautiful and we need them in our gardens for environmental and edification purposes. However, the old tree growing close to buildings pose a serious threat to foundations, walls and drains. It has the potential to invade cracks and demolish the house. Some habits do not require pruning or the selective removal of branches and buds. The branches will grow and blossom again once pruned. You will need to dig deep to expose the roots as much as possible to remove them. If something stands between you and your happiness, what is the benefit of keeping it? What is the benefit of protecting that which invades your inner peace and eats away your fulfilment. The discarding of habits threatening your existence is essential to restore your wholeness.
- Justify nothing
Once the root is removed, the ticket to new ways of behaviour and thinking is not to justify anything. Most of us get stuck between old and new paradigms because we want to find acceptable reasons for our past. As Lisa Nichols says, I come “with nothing to prove, nothing to protect, nothing to defend and nothing to hide”. Own up to your past shortcomings, ask forgiveness and forgive yourself so that you can go forward. One anonymous quote says, “once you’ve accepted your flaws no one can use them against you”. Accepting and acknowledging your past junk, not only liberates you, it liberates others as well.
- Develop new habits
Replace your old habits with new productive ones. You cannot leave a void because this leaves an opening for old habits to creep in. Imagine the amount of time that gambling, alcohol and drug abuse take out of your productive self. How about dedicating the new-found time to health and physical exercise? You are as good as the last book read these days. How about immersing yourself in self-development and create a better informed and knowledgeable you? Imagine the mental and physically exhaustion that anger and hatred takes on people. How about replacing these with unconditional acceptance and love? Release yourself from this bondage by praying for your enemies or those who hurt you. Find time to dedicate to worthy courses and turn that anger into love for others. Replace the old, destructive ways with new constructive habits and your life will never be the same.
Think Big, Dream Wild & Prosper