No matter who you are, it’s likely you have at least one habit that doesn’t serve your greater good. Perhaps it’s overeating or indulging too often in treats. Maybe you enjoy smoking cigarettes, or you might procrastinate chores and projects. Yeah, we could go on and on listing the “thorns in our flesh”, but that’s not necessary. We all know what habits aren’t serving us, right? Understand, however, just because these habits exist right now doesn’t mean they will be present forever. That, my friend, is completely up to you. Change is possible when you focus on your goals and put forth the effort to reach them. Here are a few ways that I know to break non-serving habits once and for all.
Set Achievable Goals
Though you may have good intentions, it’s not beneficial to set lofty goals that are not realistic. You can tell yourself you’re going to stop eating fast food and run a marathon next month. However, if you’ve lived a sedentary lifestyle for years, it’s not likely going to happen…not safely, anyway.
Instead, set achievable goals that make sense for where you are right now. Baby steps are taken by beginners because it’s a form of training and programming, much like how a baby learns to walk. Every new thing we do takes courage and focus to accomplish, even the small things. That is if you want the change to last. The other reason to set smaller goals is so you can experience victory and reward yourself accordingly.
For example, if you want to lose weight, start by walking a few times a week. Once you have established this as a new habit, increase the frequency and distance. It’s important to listen to your body as you change old habits to new healthier ones. It could fight you tooth and nail all the way, but taking it slowly will help to ease any discomfort.
Find a Substitute
For the majority of people, stopping a long-term behavior immediately isn’t doable. Even if things go well for a day or two, the mind and body want to pull away from change, especially if it is some type of addiction. This can be discouraging and cause major setbacks.
One way to aid in changing a habit is to find a more healthful alternative. For example, smokers can consider a substitute for cigarettes. The Vape Mall online and plenty of local shops offer a wide range of products to help smokers wean off nicotine and the other dangerous chemicals in traditional cigarettes. This might not work for everyone, but it’s an option if other methods haven’t worked.
Another area that women get tripped up in is their diets. It’s easy to get into poor eating habits when life gets overwhelming. To counteract this, consider substituting your go-to fast foods with better choices like delicious protein shakes and whole foods. I know, it’s not easy to change this one, especially when time is an issue. Remember, you don’t have to change everything all at once. Baby steps…
Triggers can certainly exacerbate non-serving habits. Emotions like stress, anger, or heartbreak are long known as the culprits behind overeating, self-medicating, and lack of motivation. Though we may not care at the moment, our attempts to soothe ourselves and find relief are actually perpetuating the problems in the long run. This makes it imperative to identify triggers and find alternative coping mechanisms.
Once these triggers are pinpointed, it’s much easier to stop engaging in behavior that isn’t serving. The key is to have a plan in place for when these emotions or triggers occur. Write your plan, rehearse it, and even practice it before you actually need it.
I have always done better with change and achieving goals when I am accountable to someone. Though this person doesn’t need to be in every aspect of your life or the activities you do, he/she does need to know how to keep you motivated and responsible for your actions. It might also help to work with someone who needs accountability as well. That way, if you go into something together, you are more likely to succeed, as you will have the support (and correction) of the other person.
A good example of having an accountability partner is seen when women have gym or workout buddies. Likewise, you can also use it to change your diet, especially if it’s two people living in the same household.
Be Kind to Yourself
Old habits can die hard, but breaking them doesn’t have to be horrible or painful. Take your time and focus on what you want to accomplish. Make sure you want your goals more than you want whatever it is you’re trying to stop. Be kind to yourself during this process and give yourself a break if you have a setback. Get back to it as soon as you can. Remember, every small step you take is one step closer to breaking those non-serving habits once and for all.