Can you finally break the habits that are holding you back?

break bad habits

Right now, you may find yourself spinning in circles as you’re working towards a goal – especially a career goal.

You want to launch that business and you know deep down you can do it, but something’s not working.

Or you want figure out what that new career path is (because you’re spending time talking to people, and joining the webinars, and doing ALL the things), but something’s just not clicking.

I get it.

Each month in the group coaching membership we have a member lead a session.

This month, Ada, who is currently in a career transition, led the call and spoke about breaking habits that are holding her back.

In pursuing her mission, Ada recently decided to start her own business. (When we met, Ada said this was a 5-10 year goal…you know, something she’ll do when the time is right. 😉)

​​But, in finding her mission, her 5-10 year goal became today’s goal, which means she’s now working through the fears and challenges that come with that.

“Sometimes you have to embrace the suck,” Ada said on the call, referencing the habits she needs to break to make her dream a reality.

Let’s break the habits that don’t serve you so that you can also take action towards your goals – today.

Here’s a 4- step framework to help you get the results you want faster.

1. Recognize that you have a love-hate relationship with growth

Your brain has a natural tendency to keep you safe. This means you like doing the same thing over and over again. The familiar protects you from danger because you know what you’re getting yourself into. 

But you also know deep down this isn’t where growth happens; so even though you may feel “safe” you may also feel stagnant, bored, frustrated and dissatisfied.  

The reality is that the change you seek (and growth) happens when you’re uncomfortable – and when you feel some danger lurking nearby. You have a love-hate relationship with this because you know it’s the thing to do, but you also just don’t want to do it. 

(I definitely feel this, and I witnessed this same relationship in Ada.)

So the first step is to be aware of this love-hate relationship. Make peace with it. For me, usually there’s a dialogue going on in my head:

“I know this will feel good after, but right now, I really do NOT want to do this.” 

If I had to put a visual to this, I’d witness a little girl kicking and screaming. 

I’ve felt this way when I’ve had to do anything scary in my life – confront a friend, leave my financially secure job to go back to school or build Work Bigger, speak in front of a large audience… 

This push-pull feeling does not go away! 

Now if you can recognize and accept this, here’s how to work through the hate part and the discomfort. 

2. Identify how you typically deal with discomfort

How do you react when you’re uncomfortable? 

Do you avoid a difficult decision and make up excuses for yourself? Or, do you keep yourself busy by doing the wrong things? 

(I’ve definitely done both so you’re not alone.)

For example, maybe you’re feeling really scared to reach out to others because you need help with finding a job. Deep down you know that relationships will help you make a faster transition, but you don’t want to deal with rejection or feeling like a bother. So, instead you keep doing the same thing – applying to jobs online.

You know how to apply to jobs online. Reaching out to others, on the other, feels vulnerable. 

No shame there! But recognize it because how you’re reacting to the discomfort is the habit you need to work on.  Build awareness on what your go-to reaction is when you’re feeling scared or uncomfortable. That’s the first step to making a different decision. 

3. Allow ALL the emotions

Allowing your emotions is a foreign concept. You have this belief that negative emotions are “bad” and positive emotions are “good,” so let’s be positive all the time and make the negative go away. 

This is counterproductive, and even worse – it’s self-harming. 

Negative emotions may feel bad, but they’re a part of you and the human experience. The positive emotions that you feel can’t exist without the negative. You naturally fluctuate between the two. 

So don’t make the negative bad, and don’t try to make it go away. Accept it, allow it. 

Also, negative emotions are a part of you, and this part some love and acknowledgement. 

To make this easier, you can try acknowledging the emotion with a mantra. 

Mine is: “I see you, I hear you, I feel you.” 

4. Take action 

Taking repeated action toward what scares you is the only way to break old habits, and build a new habit that serves you.

The good news is eventually that thing you’re scared of becomes second nature, especially after you do it several times. 

I’m seeing this with members like Ada right now.

I see that as Ada’s taking the right action (vs. avoiding) her courage is strengthening.

She has insights like –  “oh, I can take this risk and it’s not so bad after I do it.” This is building her confidence and getting her closer to her goal.

To take the right action, ask yourself: What feels scary right now? What’s the thing I don’t want to do?

And you don’t need to take a massive risk to start. Take it slow and step by step. Then, ask yourself: What did I learn?

You’ll see growth where previously there was fear.

In Conclusion

I know you’ve heard growth is uncomfortable. But when you’re in it – making the scary decisions to get closer to your goals – it can feel paralyzing. You’re not alone.

Working through this discomfort is the daily practice here at Work Bigger. I promise you, your life changes for the better – not because you find that fancy job but because you do what you’re so badly craving to do deep down – what feels good to you. 

How do you want to embrace the challenges that come with growth? What’s one thing you want to work on this week? Tell me in the comments. 

Belma McCaffrey

Author Belma McCaffrey

More posts by Belma McCaffrey

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