A couple of years ago I was chatting with a colleague and he was complaining about how he had put on weight and lost his motivation for exercise. He loved road cycling but hadn’t been on his bike for six months. He was working a few extra hours every week and his previously healthy diet had disintegrated into regular meals of junk food. He was a mess. He was searching for a profound reason why these changes had occurred and why he had lost his previous motivation.

He asked me what I thought. I told him that he seemed simply to have acquired some bad habits and was stuck in a repetitive cycle that mentally he seemed unable or unwilling to break. He asked me what to do. I said just stop doing them and do the opposite. Ditch the junk food and reduce your meal portion sizes. Dust off your bike when you get home tonight and go for a ride. Just stop the bad behaviour (habits) and start afresh with good habits.

He looked at my incredulously and asked “is that it?” Yep mate – that’s it. It’s no harder than that. I asked him to try it seriously for three weeks and then report back to me. Not surprisingly he got back on track.

There’s no magic to breaking bad habits or changing old behaviourJust stop doing them and do the opposite. Go cold turkey. It might be hard for a while as you adjust to the changes but you’ll soon get used to it. And you’ll be a lot better off – happier, more prosperous and better at what you do.

An old boss of mine used to say – “you ain’t stupid and you’re not nailed to the floor so you can change anything you like if you are prepared to let go of the past.” He’s 100% right. Try it out – you might be pleasantly surprised by the results…