Habits – to keep or not to keep? Let’s not get consumed with negativity. Habits can be healthy too!
Let’s get the negative nonsense out-of-the-way, so we can focus on things that are more productive.
If you have a habit and you don’t like it, or you know it isn’t good for you…then you need to stop. What you don’t need to do, is stop because someone else told you to (that never works).
We are not going to list the million different negative habits that humans can possibly have. You know if you have a habit and it is having a negative impact on your life, that it has to stop….for you.
If you want to stop a nasty habit that is having a negative impact on your life, (or health) then you must want to stop more than you want to continue.
Continuing a bad habit, is easy to do.
- You derive pleasure from it!
- It feels good – comforting.
- That’s why it becomes a habit in the first place.
Your brain says, “this is awesome” so you keep doing it.
If you smoke, the reasons why you should stop are obvious. For every habit that is considered to be unhealthy, there are numerous reasons why you should stop. The only “reasons” that matter, are the ones important enough to quit – for you.
We have to want to change before we make an effort to replace our bad habits with good ones. If you are not ready to change, then you are not ready. There is nothing anyone can say or do to get you to quit a bad habit that you are not ready to give up. Are you ready? Keep reading!
What are bad habits:
- Negative, repetitive behaviors
- Things that were learned that can be unlearned
- Things we deem to be having a negative impact on our lives
- Things that keep us from living a life of greatness
When we are ready to replace our bad habits with good ones, there are a few things we can do to help:
Acknowledge the habit: Tell yourself what the bad habit is (out loud, say it). Tell yourself how this habit is having a negative impact on your life and why it needs to stop. Be as specific as possible and take some time to contemplate all the reasons why your habit MUST STOP.
Experts have even suggested taking 30 days to acknowledge your habit and determine all the reasons why you must stop doing them prior to quitting.
This is an important step, don’t rush it. The more you recognize the negative impact your nasty habit is having on your life, the more determination you will have when you say, “Enough.”
Habits have habits: Avoid situations that make it difficult for you to quit your bad habit. If you are trying to quit smoking and having a drink makes you smoke – then you must stop drinking until you are strong enough to drink without smoking, for example. When you finally put your foot down and decide that you will quit the habit that is negatively impacting your life or future, then you must make additional sacrifices to assure you are successful. Stay away from people or situations that will set you up for failure.
Ask for help: Tell your friends and family what you are doing. When you have an “urge” tell someone who you are having an urge – they will tell you, “you don’t need that,” and you will say “you’re right!” Every time you successfully conquer an “urge” you are a step closer to victory. Telling our brain that we are in control and it isn’t going to “get what it wants” isn’t an easy thing to do. Let someone (a friend or family member) be our voice of reason until we are strong enough to be that “voice of reason” on our own.
Out with the old, in with the new: Replace your bad habits with new ones. Stay busy with your new habits. New habits will take your mind off your old habits – which will certainly help! New habits (healthy ones) will also give you a tremendous sense of pride and self-esteem. You will get stronger by the minute!
Meditate: Mediation is very powerful. It takes 28 days (the experts say) to break a bad habit. Meditating and visualizing yourself free from your old habits, is an effective way to help you succeed. Show your brain what it is going to be like when you are no longer a prisoner of your old habits, so your brain knows what to look forward to.
Start slow: You don’t have to “change overnight.” Rome wasn’t built in a day. If your habits are addiction based, drugs (including nicotine) or alcohol, you may need help. Talk to your doctor about quitting.
Don’t be too hard on yourself: Breaking a bad habit can take time. This is OK. Know “going into it” that you will have to work hard to break a bad habit, especially if you have had it for a long time. If you are too hard on yourself, you will consider a “slip up” failure. A “slip up” is not failure, it is part of the process. Know this going into it. If you “slip up” it is OK to feel guilty about slipping up (you should have this feeling it will be a motivator) but it is not OK to believe that your slip is a fail. It is not. Go easy on yourself, quitting a bad habit is not an easy thing to do. However, do not doubt for one second that you will be successful.
We all have habits. Habits are not bad (unless they are bad for you or having a negative impact on your life)
I have personally overcome addiction (smoking, drinking and hard drugs). I was an addict for 15 years of my life, bouncing from one addiction to the next. I had a traumatic event in my life that I used as an excuse (that’s the worst).
I am living proof that addiction and bad habits can be overcome. I have personally used all the steps I have mentioned in this article to help me…. they work (if you let them work).
Do you have a habit that is having a negative impact on your life? Do you know someone who has a habit that is negatively affecting their life? How can we help?