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How to Replace Habits That Aren’t Working for You

How to Replace Habits That Aren’t Working for You | FocusWithMarlene.comLast week you recorded what you did throughout the day. Taking charge of your time and your life requires not only being aware of your current habits, but knowing how to replace habits that aren’t working.

Taking charge means putting in place a new time management schedule that meets your purposes and goals.

It will require self-regulation and self-discipline. The word “discipline” often triggers a negative response based on our childhood interpretation of discipline. But now it is a positive tool allowing you to do the things you want to do.


Self-regulation doesn’t mean every moment is regulated in some way or that we lead a regimented life with no pleasure or down times. In fact, when you put a time management plan in place, you will find you have more time than you did before. You are able to schedule in fun and pleasant times as well as the accomplishment of tasks and chores.

Giving into that momentary pleasure can quickly put in place an addictive habit you may not want. If you respond to the whims of the moment, you will eventually feel less and less in control of your life that can create a downward spiral of dissatisfaction, discontent, and eventually, depression.

Self-regulation includes how you spend your money as well as how you use your time.

Marketing ads are designed to convince us we need to purchase their product in order to be happy. That is their job.

Our job is to ask ourselves whether we really need that product. Will it really make you happy? Managing our finances requires setting up and monitoring a budget. It isn’t just about saving but prudent shopping.

There is a difference between needs and wants. Happiness doesn’t come from having lots of money or having lots of toys.

Taking Charge

To replace a habit, you must first be aware of what you are currently doing, why you are doing it, and why you want to change it.

  • What are the costs and benefits?
  • How do we move from good intention to actual accomplishment?
  • How do we change the behavior associated with the habits we want to replace?

First you need to know why this habit was put in place and what are the short-term and long-term costs and benefits.

To Replace a Habit

First – Why do I have this habit?

Second – What is the short-term benefit?

Third – What is the long-term cost?

Research on how our brain works has given us new insights into why we do the things we do and continue to do them even when they are not beneficial.

To change a downward spiral of impairing habits and routines requires first recognition and then making a conscious decision along with action.

When you do both, recognize and make a conscious decision and then add a step in that new direction, you are changing the dynamics of the neurons and neurotransmitters in your brain.

According to Dr. Alex Korb, author of The Upward Spiral: Using neuroscience to reverse the course of depression, one small change at a time, it takes both decision and action to change a downward spiral to an upward one. That tiny step in a new direction is enough to begin the upward process versus downward.

So, pick a behavior or habit you want to replace, and start the process.

  • Specifically, what do you want to accomplish?
  • How will you implement your plan of action and how will you maintain motivation?

Be prepared to evaluate as you go along.

Behaviors made through careful thought allows you to be in the driver’s seat. With thoughtful predetermined goals and plans, you benefit through achievement. You stay on track by reminding yourself of how good you will feel when you have put this new habit in place.

Marlene Anderson

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