4 Steps That Will Help You To Break Bad Habits
In yesterday’s post, I talked about the negative habits that have consumed my life for the last five years. After taking a day off and just resetting mentally and emotionally, I am happy to say that I have been making small strides to break these patterns. Now, please understand that the habits are nowhere close to being gone. It has only been 24 hours, but I am happy with the progress that I have been making even in the short amount of time. So here are some steps that I am trying to use to help me break bad habits.
Acknowledging the issue.
The first step to breaking any bad habit is to admit that there is a habit to be broken. The more that we lie to ourselves and avoid acknowledgment of the habits, the more we actually believe that there is not a bad habit to be broken. This just pushes us down a continual path and going to greater extremes instead of eliminating the habits.
Only you can admit that there is a habit to be broken. Others can encourage you that something needs to change, but you have to be completely honest with yourself and know what you want with your life long term. For me, admitting my fear of food was hard and easy at the same time. It was hard because our not a lot of men in our society feel comfortable admitting an eating disorder. But it was also easy because it was something that I had bottled up for so long that I needed to let all of my emotions free.
Determine the worth and imagine a different life
Look at the impacts that this habit has on your life. Ask yourself if it is worth it do try and break the habit. Is it worth the time and constant energy that it will take to eliminate this habit? Then, simply imagine your life without the habit. Does it feel relieving and bring a sense of enjoyment to you? If so, then it is time to take the next steps to break the habit for good.
Throughout the process, learn to listen to your emotions and change what you don’t like. Only then will you truly be able to be happy with yourself. Write down your emotions, and remember how you visioned your life to be. Use these tools as reinforcements for when the times get tough. Also, remember that you are the only person that can stop yourself from achieving your goals. If you truly want to break a habit, you need to have the determination and patience that it requires to make the change.
Hold yourself accountable
This comes down to how badly you want to break the habits. We can all say that we want to break bad habits, but our actions are going to speak louder than our words.
I am going to use my personal life as an example to help you understand this. I have a fear of foods. Perfect, I admitted it. Now, I need to put together an action plan to help break the bad habit of being too healthy and too critical on myself? I can say that I want to break this habit, but I have to act on it in order for this habit to be broken. For me, that means deleting MyFitnessPal from my phone and not reading food labels. When a friend calls me and wants to go grab dinner, I will go. It also means that I need to challenge myself when I am not in the presence of others. It comes down to breaking patterns and cycles. Do something that gets you out of your comfort zone.
Make new choices and create different patterns
The final step to breaking bad habits is to make different choices in the face of those habits. It is important to know that no habit will be able to be broken overnight, neither should we expect it to be. What we should do is to set up both short and long term goals. Set up goals over a short period of time so that you can measure your progress, but have them be a leading factor to exceeding your long term goals.
Let me again use myself as an example for better understanding. Day in and day out, I have the same routine. I wake up, go to work, go to the gym, come home and watch tv. That is my weekday in a nutshell. The changes that I have been making are small, but nevertheless, they are getting me out of my comfort zone. I am going to a different gym, reduced the amount of cardio that I do, take a different way home from the gym, and I have also asked others to cook for me. The cooking is the biggest change because I have given up all control of what is being used to cook my food (I never would cook with oil as it was added calories).
Small and pathetic changes, right? Wrong. These changes have taken me out of my comfort zone and have challenged my emotions. It is not easy to let go, but I have learned that I need to if I want to live the life that I envisioned for myself. This is how it is supposed to be. Small changes that will lead to a greater outcome over time. We are all different. We all have our own battles that we face. No matter who you are as a person, know that you are not alone with your daily struggles and that any habit is able to be broken. Join me in the process and find something that will truly challenge you. I promise, it will lead to a healthier lifestyle.
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