Bad habits are things you do unconsciously but you wish you could change them.
You feel like a failure when you think about these habits because you feel powerless towards them especially when you have tried changing them in the past.
Stop scrolling on social media, stop eating sugar, alcohol, going to bed earlier and the list goes on.
How do you change bad habits?
The most important part of changing is identifying what you want to change. Not only that but what it is not working for you. When you decide that a habit is no longer serving you and the reason behind it; you can anchor yourself in the truth of what it is happening so you can empower yourself to change your future.
Saying out loud, or maybe saying it to a friend or even writing it down makes things real.
Let’s say you drink too much alcohol and you would like to stop altogether because you recognise it is not something you can control anymore. It is a habit that is controlling you.
Once you identify what you want to change, you move on to the next step which is
UNDERSTANDING WHY YOU PRACTICE THIS HABIT
It could be simply something you have practiced for years now. You have started when you were a teenager and it didn’t bother you then but it does bother you now.
It could be about something deeper. You feel lonely, you are anxious and worried, you are not happy at work or in your relationship.
Therefore you drink too much, you eat too much sugar etc.
Once you recognise that, you can move on to the next step which is
WORK THROUGH THE ROOT CAUSE
This can be very challenging and you might need help from outside.
Bad habits creep up on us from situations that we potentially haven’t deal with properly.
As a society it is easy these days to go from one addiction to another to cover up what we need to work through within ourselves.
Let’s talk about overeating which is a serious problem these days.
You could overeat because that is all you have done your whole life. You have watched your parents do because they had a low sense of self worth, or they didn’t know how to look after themselves.
You decide that you don’t want to live your life like that but now that this is a habit, you need to work through this in your own life and reality.
which leads us to the next step
REPLACE THIS HABIT
You have been practicing the habit of overeating your whole life. You know need to replace this habit with something new because your brain will constantly go back to what it knows.
Buying ‘real foods’ instead of ‘junk food’ or ‘food from packages” could be a good start.
Cleaning your pantry from foods that are just convenient to eat but don’t add any nutrition to your body.
A lot of people try changing habits when there is a temptation right next to them (in this case, having the pantry full of biscuits and crips). People believe they need to be strong enough not to eat these foods when in actual fact it is not a really good way to go about it.
This is beyond discipline. It is a habit and it is ingrained in your body and mind. At the beginning it is going to be hard for you to stop doing what you have always known so making sure that you don’t have any temptations around will be really helpful.
Avoiding triggers as much as you can, it will help you succeed which leads to the next step which is
Building a habit is not following a diet plan. It is a life time commitment.
Think about when you learned how to ride a bike. It was hard at the beginning right? But the more you practice, the better you got at it right?
It is the same thing with habits. You want to be able to feel like you are riding that bike effortlessly.
Practice until you get to that stage. You know you can’t undo the new habit you have created.
But…there is a big but which leads to the next step
EXPECT TO SLIP UP
When people are building a new habit, they expect perfection.
They think because they decided to change, they are not going to slip up.
If they slip up, they go straight into the mentality of all or nothing.
They think they fail, they never going to change and the world is going to end.
It is not how it works. Be patient with yourself.
If you slip up, dust yourself off and get up again.
Keep practicing until you conquer it!
PS: My name is Angelica Alen – I have changed all my physical, mental and emotional habits during cancer treatment.
I was able to finished 12 sessions of chemotherapy feeling stronger than when I started.
5 years on, I feel the healthiest and happiest I have ever been. I now help people take control of their health and lives by changing their habits. Wanna know how?