We all have bad habits, smoking, too much coffee, swearing a bit too much (or in the wrong places)… And, the chances are you probably don’t love your bad habits all that much. But, how do you break those bad habits? What can you do to either turn them into a positive or see an improvement?
So many people who opt to go cold turkey on their habits struggle. Habits are usually formed over the space of years, and take a minimum of 12 weeks to change. If you find that you are swearing too much – start swapping the Fs for something like fudge. If it is wine or a beer for you, then cut out a single glass a week, then cut out more and more. For smokers, it can be trickier as it is usually going hand in hand with coffee or stress. Replacing smoking with an e cig kit will help cut out all the nasties that you currently get exposed to, but keep the hand movements – so that you don’t miss them to the point you’re ready to buy another pack of smokes.
Every time you swear put money in the jar as a fine. Every time you don’t buy the wine or cigarettes, put the money in the pot for a treat. Set an amount for each swear word – high offending words should have a higher fine – you’re much more likely to drop them quickly if it’s going to cost you.
Nail biting, smoking and drinking can often be triggered by stressful periods in our life. Learning better stress management, for example, when you feel stressed, go for a walk, or dance around to your favourite songs. Sometimes it is worth implementing something creative to get you through it and getting a new hobby out of old habits.
Set reminders on your phone to go off at set times each day with something encouraging. It is easy to brush people aside when they mention you ‘making great changes’. It’s harder to ignore yourself. Some might be an encouragement – ‘you’re doing so well’. Others might be a hard slap in the face ‘put the wine down loser’. You know what will work for you on a psychological level – so use it.
Go To Bed Earlier
Some days will be harder than others. If you have the opportunity to relax and have a hot shower, then head straight to bed – the effort to get out again, and head outside to smoke, or pour wine from the fridge, or indeed eat the last of the cake is usually a great deterrent.
Be A Hater
Nail biting, overeating, drinking, smoking and a lot of other bad habits are comforting and provide us with a sense of satisfaction. Being aware of that, and learning when it happens is going to be essential. As you lift your hand to your mouth to bite your nails, catch yourself, and simply tuck your hair behind your ears, or purposefully put your hand back down. Being mindful of what you are doing, and when you are doing it will give you the mental power to stop. So be a hater of your own habits.
Be kind to yourself. Breaking habits of any kind takes a lot of determination, keep at it.
This is a contributed post.