Breaking Bad Habits
Sometimes, we don’t realize we have developed bad habits until it’s too late. Meaning they have become part of our daily life and happen automatically without much conscious effort.
Once the habit has been ingrained, it can be hard work to shake off. Over time, we often find ourselves with a range of bad habits accumulated over the years.
These habits often disrupt our lives either by consuming time, money or by preventing us from attaining certain goals in life.
It’s best to avoid acquiring a bad habit than to wait for a “cure.” How can we fight off little habits to ensure that we use our time effectively and avoid long term consequences?
Following are 5 ways you can break bad habits and gain control of your life.
#1: Recognize The Triggers
We often have that one thing that sets the ball in motion towards our bad habits. We can be on track and doing really well and the next minute find ourselves back at the start in full swing of our bad habits.
It might be quitting junk food, alcohol or smoking. You need to recognize those things that get you off track. Some of the most common triggers are emotional strain, boredom, just bad company and coupling things together.
Coupling things means when people drink alcohol they automatically smoke a cigarette. Or if you have a coffee you automatically pair that with eating a cookie.
Try to avoid those circumstances that might force you back onto your bad habit. Track all the things that trigger you towards bad habits.
And track all the things that you pair together that trigger a chain reaction towards the habit you want to break.
Recognizing your triggers is the first step to successfully breaking a bad habit.
#2: Be Mindful
Running on autopilot is one of the most dangerous things to do when you want to break a habit. A habit is a “settled or regular tendency or practice.” This means that once some activity becomes a habit, we tend to just execute it subconsciously, with no effort at all.
Therefore, you find yourself repeating those same, regular and familiar habits without even noticing. This is where mindfulness comes into play. By staying vigilant, you will be in full control of what you’re doing.
You won’t find yourself slipping back to old habits because you will be in control of all your actions. Acting in a mindful state means you’re being present in the moment, aware of your feelings, triggers, thoughts and reactions.
Mindfulness brings awareness and awareness allows you to change the things you want to do less off. This is where change really begins.
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#3: Replacing Bad Habits
Bad habits usually serve a purpose in life. Sometimes they are carried out to calm you down, to help you self sooth, it can hep you belong to a group or help you release stress and tension. This is why we resist changing bad habits.
Everything has a benefit otherwise we wouldn’t do it. Even when the pain outweighs the benefit we can still resist change.
To successfully get rid of a bad habit, you need to replace it with something that is equally satisfying. If you had a habit of comfort eating or smoking when stressed, you need to find an alternative way of dealing with that stress that gives you the same kind of benefit.
This is the key for long term change. For example if you want to change the habit of eating junk food you can’t go from eating chocolate cake to eating dry crackers. There really is no comparison. If you choose to replace a pleasurable habit with something that is not equally as good you will fall back into the habit real quick.
It’s also important when you choose something to replace your bad habit with that the new habit is just as easily accessible, portable and you can do anytime. The easier you make it to replace the habit the more successful you will be.
SERVICES TO HELP:
#4: Get Some Help
Breaking some habits is not an easy task. You can feel as if you’re being punished, having to go without out, experience cravings and it can trigger intense emotions. It can make you feel weak and have you doubting your ability to succeed.
This is why asking for help or support from a professional or even a good friend can help you get through those tough moments.
You need to recognise your limit and when you need to reach out to someone. You can even join out different support groups through Facebook to be with like-minded people who are going through a similar experience.
Never let a habit bring you down just because you are too proud or too shy to seek help.
You don’t need to shoulder all burdens alone and remember people need to feel needed so asking for help can be a good thing for you and your friend.
#5: Be Patient
Letting go of an old habit is a gradual process that requires patience and perseverance. It takes time to put the habit behind you for good. You need to be patient and strong.
Don’t think of yourself as a victim of the habit. It has no power over you. Once you have decided to take action, replace the habit and give it up for good you are gaining control.
Remember it took a long time to develop the habit so give yourself a realistic time frame of when you have conquered it.
Knowing what you want in life will give you the direction and steer you on the right path. Align your goals with your values and you can change any habit much more quickly and intentionally.
RESOURCES TO HELP:
Conclusion on Breaking Bad Habits
Progress looks difference for everyone so make sure you’re being realistic with how long it will take and what you will experience during that time.
Reward yourself along the way so you have things to look forward to. Keep track of the progress you have made and journal what’s working so you can do more of it.
Motivate yourself in all the ways possible and never give up on yourself.
If you need help click here to make an appointment to talk about your lifestyle habits and I can help you in person or over Skype/Zoom.