I have come to realize that many people wait until the new year to set goals, but this time will be different for you and me.
I understand that most individuals want to create new resolutions and habits in January, but I don’t believe this is the best motivator for change. You can’t just decide to make a change in your life without first planning ahead and breaking old habits!
BREAKING OLD HABITS
Everyone has habits, and most of them are quite harmless. Some can even be beneficial, such as automatically turning off lights when you leave a room or laying out your clothing for work the night before. However, there are some negative behaviors that we must all break.
Breaking bad habits is challenging, but it may be made simpler if you understand how they arise in the first place. Here are a few things you can start doing right away
Identify your triggers
Remember, triggers are the first step in developing a habit. The first step in overcoming your regular habits is to identify the triggers that cause them.
Track your habit for a few days to determine if it follows any patterns.
Note things like:
- Where does the habitual behavior happen?
- What time of day?
- How do you feel when it happens?
- Are other people involved?
Trying to break many habits at the same time? The vision of a new, improved self may be a powerful motivator, particularly when first deciding to change bad habits.
This can occasionally work. If the habits are related, you may find it easier to handle them all at once. For example, if you want to quit smoking and drinking and you always do both together, stopping both at the same time may make the most sense.
Focus on why you want to change
Why do you wish to break or change a habit?
When the change you wish to make is worthwhile or beneficial to you, it may be simpler to modify your behavior.
Consider why you wish to quit the habit and any benefits you notice as a result of the change. List these reasons to help you come up with a few more that haven’t occurred to you yet.
Mindfulness may assist you in becoming more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. This exercise consists of simply noticing impulses related to your habit without judging or reacting to them.
As you become more aware of these repetitive behaviors and the triggers that cause them, you may find it easier to explore other alternatives, such as ignoring reminder cues or resisting urges.
Replace the habit with a different one
You may find it simpler to break a habit if you replace the undesired activity with a new behavior rather than merely attempting to cease the bad behavior.
Assume you want to quit grabbing for candy at work when you’re hungry. If you merely attempt to avoid the candy dish, you may relapse when you can’t resist the urge. Bringing a Tupperware of dried fruit and nuts to your desk, on the other hand, provides you with another snack alternative.
Leave yourself reminders
Using stickers, sticky notes, or other visual reminders where the habit behavior occurs might assist you in rethinking the action when anything prompts you.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Do you want to stop drinking soda with every meal? Try putting little labels on your refrigerator that you’ll notice when you go to get a can.
- Have trouble remembering to switch off the lights when you leave a room? Make a note for yourself and stick it on the light switch or door.
- Do you want to start putting your keys in a certain location so you don’t lose them all the time? Location a dish for your keys in the first place you’ll notice it when you get home.
For reminders, you may also use your smartphone. Set your alarm and leave yourself an encouraging message, such as “Time to switch off the TV!:)” or “Walk after supper — remember how fantastic it feels!”