Bad habits can completely disrupt our lives and at times even destroy it. It can jeopardize our health both mentally and physically and ultimately even help form our character so it’s definitely a necessity to get rid of them.
Look, nobody is perfect! we all know we need to exercise more, eat healthier and be more disciplined but the reality is, the majority of us have a hard time with this and certainly need support.
The great thing is, it is also possible to create good habits which you can then substitute for your bad ones. Habits are made through repetition and habits can also be broken through repetition as well.
For example, if I was to repeatedly bite my fingernails after a while it will turn into a habit regardless of it being good or bad, repetition is the way to create and break a habit.
One thing that is for sure is you cannot change bad habits if you keep negative thinking “your thoughts always perceive your actions” and you cannot make good habits either if you continue to have those bad thoughts.
Our habits can control us and our lives whilst making us miserable in the process so we must learn to overcome them in order to live a successful, happy and a healthy lifestyle that will benefit our future. Here are some simple strategies you can follow to help you break those unwanted habits.
Choose a substitute for your bad habit
This is the exciting part as you’re now on a new journey of personal growth which will give you a chance to work on yourself in-depth and explore your mind and your inner world. This means working on your thoughts, attitudes, values and emotions giving you the ability to take complete control over your life.
You can replace the old with the new! now let’s start to think about good habits and how you can replace the bad with the good. There are lots of good habits we can install and implement in our lives like “the happy habit” making happiness a daily habit.
Make a commitment to be happy despite of your bad habit or circumstances because the truth is problems are always going to come and go but we cannot base our happiness on how we always feel or our situation. We must learn to be happy regardless of what’s going on in our lives.
Other great habits as well such as, practicing gratitude, managing money wisely, asking for what you want! or even tending to your spiritual needs are all good habits you want to set in concrete. And the quicker you live by these great habits the better your life experience will be.
You need to also have a plan ahead of time for how you will respond when you face the stress or boredom that prompts your bad habit. What are you going to do when you get the urge to smoke? (Example: breathing exercises instead or chewing minty gum.) What are you going to do when Facebook or Instagram is calling to you to procrastinate? (Example: write one sentence for work.) Whatever it is and whatever you’re dealing with, you need to have a plan for what you will do instead of your bad habit. Prepare yourself is what i’m saying.
Remove yourself from negative influences
If you really are serious and you wholeheartedly want to change for the better, but you have people in your life who are not supportive at all of your new plans. Then you need to seriously think about staying away for a while because you can’t have both.
Life is too precious to let these people steal it from you. Our decisions are never always easy, but we must learn to make the decision to sacrifice what’s not good for us now in order for us to reap the benefits and rewards later on, this is called self-love. Make it easier for yourself and cut away any negativity that will trigger your bad habits.
Surround yourself with people who live the way you want to live. You don’t need to ditch your old friends, but don’t underestimate the power of finding some new ones as well.
Get the support that you need
You don’t have to do this alone, regardless of any habit that you’re trying to break remember there is always help out there.
The first step is to acknowledge that you have a problem and you need to be willing to do whatever it takes to overcome it. Seek and you shall find! look for resources that will help you and give you the support that you need.
Go and visit your doctor, talk to a specialist it’s important to make use of the resources that you have. Recognizing the causes of your bad habits is crucial to overcoming them and also remember there was a point when you lived without this habit and you were fine which means you can definitely do it again and be perfectly ok.
Do not be hard on yourself
We are all hard on ourselves at some point or another and sometimes can be our own worst critics! but it’s extremely important to snap out of it quickly and to not dwell in self-pity. I find self-pity to be dangerous and extremely damaging in the long run if you stay there for too long because it cripples you and completely destroys your ability to help yourself.
The more you feel sorry for yourself the worse you will feel, those negative thoughts will not bring a positive outcome. If you slip up at some point whilst trying to tackle your bad habit “that’s ok, forgive yourself” just remember to stay focused on your goal and continue with it.
I once had a habit that took almost 10 years to finally overcome. I would always try and then fail and i know some of you are probably thinking “wow that’s a really long time” but the point is that I never gave up trying and believing I could do it! and in the end i was successful so my point is, “don’t ever give up trying to quit.”
I find visualization to be helpful, so see yourself succeeding and actually visualize yourself throwing away the cigarettes or buying healthy food or waking up early. Whatever the bad habit is that you are looking to break, visualize yourself crushing it, smiling, and enjoying your success. See yourself building a new life or should i say returning to the old you.
Believe in yourself and you will certainly accomplish your goals. Breaking bad habits takes a lot of effort and it will consume a lot of your time, think of it like this if it took you twenty years to be this way, don’t expect to change within twenty minutes. Be patient with yourself because it takes mostly a lot of perseverance.
Don’t stress about it
As hard as it may be, it’s really important not to stress about your habits because the more you stress about it the more likely you are to do it.
UCLA neuroscientist “Alex Korb” had also stated that staying relaxed helps your brain make the right choices “stress weakens the prefrontal cortex” so anything at all you can do to reduce stress can help strengthen the prefrontal cortex’s control over your habits.
Remember our habits are also patterns of behaviour and by breaking those patterns in the long run will lead to breaking the habit itself.
You should absolutely deliberately reward yourself for your hard work and give yourself a pat on the back whenever you need to because you certainly deserve it and most importantly you have earned it. Rewarding yourself is a good habit to build and should be practised all the time as this will motivate you to keep going and continue that fight for freedom and success.