We all have bad habits, or at least areas where we can improve and things we can afford to let go of. However, it is easy to focus on the negative when trying to break a bad habit rather than focusing on the positive and self-care. This is the real key to changing your life and your response to things.
Whether you are trying to quit smoking, improve your diet, or exercise more, here are six self-care rules that will help you break bad habits.
Understand What Triggers You
Typically, a bad habit is triggered by something. For instance, when you go on a break at work, your body may crave a cigarette if you are a smoker. The breathing pattern induced by smoking and the oral fixation can be hard to duplicate. Using a vape with the right e juice can be one way to substitute something that is better for you and eventually taper off of nicotine altogether.
Eating is another habit that can be triggered by break time. As soon as you take a break, you want and crave a snack, whether you need it or not. This hunger will pass with will power, but often substituting a healthy snack or drinking more water will help with the cravings.
Go Slow and Make Small Changes
You probably won’t change your habits overnight, and so making small changes over time is often the best way. Focus on the positive and the things you can change right away. Set incremental goals, and stick with them, celebrating even small accomplishments right away.
For instance, you can set the goal that instead of having a cigarette, you will take a 20-minute walk on your lunch break three times a week. Then you can increase it to four, and then five. You are cutting down on the amount you smoke and setting up a healthy habit instead.
When it comes to eating or other habits, you can make small, positive changes as well. Substitute carrots or fruit for your favorite snack at least once a day. Stop buying junk snack foods and plan your meals the day before. These small changes can get you started on the right track.
Change Your Environment
If you smoke and there is a certain place you take your smoke breaks, you should avoid that place. If you tend to purchase things from the employee vending machine in your office break room, take your break elsewhere if at all possible.
If one of the triggers of your habits is stress, try to avoid that stress. Change the environment on your desk or in your office, adding plants or diffusers with essential oils. Change the lighting if at all possible to something that is more soothing and not as harsh.
If you have to, consider changing jobs, redecorating around your home, or whatever you need to do to remove the things that trigger your bad habits. Focus on positive changes first, but if you need something more drastic, be open to it.
Track Your Progress
It is easy to get discouraged when you cannot see where you have been and how far you have come. This is why you need to track your progress in a visual way. Post a calendar with a number of days you have not smoked, or made unhealthy snack choices. Post your exercise results where you can see them, even on your blog or website if you have one.
Have someone that holds you accountable, but who also is tracking your progress and can offer you encouragement when you are down about your results.
Create a New Routine
Often habits are a lot about routine. People who have strong routines are more likely to struggle with breaking habits. Creating a new routine is often an essential part of the process. This means things like substituting a walk at lunch needs to happen every single day, or as often and on as rigid a schedule as possible.
The longer this new routine is practiced, the more likely it is to stick. Sticking with it for at least 21 days is the key to developing and solidifying the new habit in place of the old one.
Train Yourself to Think Differently
A habit is easy to keep, harder to break. One of the reasons is that we have nostalgia or positive memories associated with our habits, even when they are bad ones. Turning those thoughts around and reminding yourself of the bad things about your habits and their negative impact is an essential part of breaking them.
This is the time when it is okay to think like a “hater”. List and remind yourself of the things you don’t like about your old habits, and the good things you like about the things you are using to replace them. The change in your thinking will help you move forward toward healthier choices.
Breaking bad habits is hard, but focusing on self-care and the positive, and forcing yourself to think differently about your habits while setting up new ones will help you be successful.
What are some effective methods that you have found for breaking your bad habits? Leave a comment with your best tips in the the section below.