Tips for breaking bad habits
Breaking a bad habit isn't easy; the very word "habit" suggests something we are used to doing and practice regularly. But we know most bad habits are damaging and need to be eradicated. Here's a little guide that can serve as your jumping-off point for kicking that nasty habit and establishing a healthy lifestyle for good.
Understand as a means to eradicate
Before you go full throttle into eliminating a bad habit, it's important to understand where it came from, why it's there and what its triggers are. Bad habits rarely come from nowhere. There is often a good deal of history and emotional need connected to them, and they are easier to get rid of when you know why you have them. For instance, if you started smoking as a way to make friends or socialize with co-workers, such people and similar social situations may trigger you to pick up the habit again. By determining the nature and presence of your habit, you can work toward establishing behaviours that will keep it at bay.
Eliminate the "all or nothing" approach
Often we set unreasonably high goals for ourselves and then feel we have failed when we don't meet those goals exactly. But it's important to remember that no one is perfect. You are trying to break a habit that is years or even decades in the making, and that is a difficult task. It's only natural that you will slip up here and there, and you can't punish yourself or give up when you do. If you're trying to give up junk food and someone offers you a sweet treat you can't resist, that doesn't mean you have to throw in the towel and eat a dozen more. Simply accept what happened, and refocus on your goals. It's not about the mistakes; it's about what you learn from those mistakes so you can kick your bad habit once and for all.
Work with a team
Struggling to get rid of a bad habit can leave you feeling vulnerable and alone. That's where creating a support team for yourself can be beneficial. Whether that team is comprised of others with similar goals or simply of people who want to see you succeed, it's important to surround yourself with friends and family who are on your side. Having people to vent to and get advice from is crucial for keeping you on track and motivated toward achieving your goal.
Replace a bad habit with a good one
When you give up something that once consumed a good amount of time and energy in your day-to-day life, you will likely have gaps of time in your schedule. If those blocks of time aren't filled with new activities, the chances of your craving that old habit and possibly picking it up again are high. What you replace those chunks of time with is completely up to you. Perhaps you've been meaning to take up knitting but haven't had the time. Or maybe it's the perfect opportunity to visit museums or other attractions you've been putting off. Whatever it is, find something that excites you, and seize your chance to do it.