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Fail-Safe Strategy to Build Better Habits

There are things that you just do, like:

biting your nails, reaching for the bag of chips, or pressing the snooze button twice and now you are late for work.   These habits drive you crazy, you feel trapped, yet no matter how hard you try, you can’t see to change them.  A habit, automated actions you preform without thinking, are not all bad.  In fact many keep you safe or on the right track.  We buckle our seat belt when we get in the car, reach for a glass of water each time we brush our teeth, or mindlessly fold the laundry as you watch your weekly show.  The challenge is the frequency of automated actions that keep you from achieving your goals. 

Desiring to get into better health, yet grabbing that bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce and snuggling into your favorite warm blanket to watch hours of TV nightly, or reaching for that diet soda, a 64 oz. mega thermal glass, every day – day after day, while struggling with kidney issues, that’s the problem.  The good news? Change is possible – identify destructive habits and use these simple tips to change destructive actions and enforce actions that more you towards goal achievement.

Studies prove, it takes anywhere from two to eight months to build a new habit. This implies it takes time, habits can’t be changed overnight. Successful change can be achieved by using the simple TRACK Process: 

T = Trigger – Identify what triggers the unwanted action

R = Replace the automated action

A = Ask questions to determine the need.  

C = Celebrate – Celebrate replacing every habit with a new productive action

K= Keep TRACKing! It takes more than once to change a habit. Record your feelings and successes in a journal daily.

Put the TRACKing into action by following these simple tips:  

1. Make a list – of the actions that you would like to change.  Brainstorm and write down everything that comes to your mind.  

2. Create a Plan – Now organize this list, into a series focuses based on priority; what action would you like to focus on first, then second?  This will avoid choosing too many habits to work on at once.    

3. Recognize your triggers  – To break the mindless automated routine of a habit, learn to recognize what triggers a specific automated habitual action.  After choosing the habit you would like to change be honest, ask yourself two questions about that habit, then listen and record the answers:  

  • What “need” does that habit fill?  
  • What productive action can I use to replace the destructive habit, that can fill this specific need?

It’s not always possible to remove triggers from our life, but it is possible to find a substitute that fills the specific need.  Finding something to fill the need is a great way to change the cycle and build a more productive habit.  In time, this new replacement habit will become the automatic action.  

4. Focus on one action at a time – Now, let’s begin with the first habit on your list.  Watch for the trigger, and be patient.  As they say, “Rome was not built in a day”.  Overcoming habits can and will take time and effort.  Keep TRACKing, you can do it.  

I have an employee who was always late to work.  Every day she had same excuse, “I couldn’t find my keys”.  I asked her,  “What NEED, does that habit fill” 

After some thought, she replied “When I was young, I did not like my mom telling me to pick up after myself,… I think I still feel a little rebellious, like someone is trying to control me.”  

After a little more discussion she decided to put a hook near the garage door to place her key as she walks into the house.  If she forgot to put the key on the hook, no matter where she was in the house,  she would walk all the way back to the door to place the key on the hook (it only took a couple annoying times of walking back to the door to overcome that habit).  In time, her “On-time” arrival at work improved,  as the use of the hook became the new automatic habit and misplacing the key a novelty.      

5. Visualize and Affirm  – We have all heard the quotes, “Saying is Believing” or “You are, what you think you are. How about his one from Napoleon Hill  “What the mind can conceive, it can achieve” .  We talk to ourselves within our mind, all the time. This self-talk reinforces action.  So, why not use this self-talk to enforce productive action.  Visualize yourself successfully changing the nonproductive habitual action into your new desired action and affirm your success by using affirmations.    

6. Get Support – Sharing your plans with others holds you accountable; it gives you someone to call when it gets tough and someone to celebrate each new success.  Call a mentor, associate or friend and ask them to be your accountability buddy to overcome and change your habit.      

7. Celebrate Every Success!  As you replace your automated actions throughout the day, CELEBRATE every little success.  Celebrate the small wins as much as the big wins.  Keep a daily journal, I call this the “Atta-Boy Book”  Write down your feelings and successes of the day. Do this for 30 days and watch the amazing results pile up in your life.  I truly believe, what you focus on becomes reality.  Focus on your successes, and you will achieve more than you ever dreamed.  

A human is a creature of habit, what you focus on becomes your reality.  Use the TRACK Process as a fail-safe way to strategically overcome habits.  Move towards what you focus on by  T = Identify the Trigger,  R = Replace the automated action with a new productive action, A = Ask questions to determine the need,  C = Celebrate every success big or small, K= Keep TRACKing! Record your successes in a journal daily and never give up.  You have the ability of success already within you.  Now, just do it! 



Struck by lightning, Devri Ficklin should be dead – but she’s not! Having recovered from a disheartening divorce, death, and financial ruin life seemed to be on track, then within seconds a bolt of lightning, changed everything. We all experience them, Lighting Moments, the pivotal events in our lives that change us, forever. Inside this impassioned journey of healing, readers learn through Ficklin’s Lightning Moment, step-by-step systems that can help them overcome personal challenges and transform their life. “The biggest battle you will ever fight is within your own mind.” Ficklin shares, “Learn to focus your thought – it’s simple, not easy – however the effort is worth it!” Lightning Moments will help you discover the steps to “Navigate the storm to discover greatness!

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