Habits: replacing the bad with the good
Our brains are built on habit. All of the habits that you have right now – good and bad – are in your life for a reason. Consistency and knowing what to expect are comforting? Maybe you are bored or stressed? In some way, these behaviors provide a benefit to you, even if they are bad for you in other ways.
Just saying “no” to a bad habit and changing it doesn’t really work long term – we’ve both probably already tried? Important: Breaking a bad habit doesn’t mean you need to become an entirely new person. You already have it in you to be someone without your bad habits. You don’t need to quit smoking, you just need to return to being a non–smoker. You don’t need to transform into a healthy person, you just need to return to being healthy.
Here are a few things I suggest to every client:
Choose one thing at a time to focus on. Narrowing your focus will help you to be more successful and avoid getting flustered and overwhelmed. Baby steps are still progress.
Choose a good substitute for your bad habit. Plan ahead of time for how you will respond when you face the stress or boredom that prompts your bad habit.
Eliminate triggers/temptations. HUGE. If you snack on cookies at home, throw them away. If you take the drive thru on your way to work, find an alternative route. Make sure your environment doesn’t make your bad habit easier and good habits harder.
Good habits are contagious. Surround yourself with people who practice the good habit you’re after? The buddy system works for some people here. Knowing that someone else expects you to be change is a powerful motivator.
Visualize yourself succeeding. Set your intention. See yourself wearing that dress you love or leaving the gym class sweaty- smiling and accomplished. Thoughts become things.
Lose the judgment. We are typically our own worst critic? New habits take time to develop. Revisit your intentions and start again. It doesn’t have to be perfect and neither do you.