We all have our routines, rituals that we do on daily basis. Some might be useful and beneficial whilst other can make our life just difficult.
What are the habits you want to change? Let’s have a look at how to get rid of them. In order to make a change, it is necessary to know how did you create it. That way, you can become a master of your habits.
How do we create habits?
A habit starts with doing something on regular basis. We create a certain way how to do it so that it will make our life easier. If it is a good habit, then it helps us, for example, to keep fit, staying healthy etc.
On the other hand, when we start creating a dangerous habit, it can destroy us and we might also get addicted to it. It can start with just a habit and then turn into an addiction.
Firstly, we trigger it mentally. For example, we start drinking coffee and connect it with a good mood, energy etc. Secondly, it will become a physical addiction. It is caused by releasing dopamine into our body which is an organic chemical produced by neurones. Dopamine stimulates our brain and makes us feel high.
When we keep releasing this hormone on regular basis, we trigger it emotionally. Consequently, we start to be physically addicted. Once our body needs it for this reason, then it is harder to get rid of it.
Another example is overeating. If we start overeating when we are stressed, anxious and so on, then we create a trigger to escape from problems, suppress the stress or fight with a boredom. It creates a pleasure, releasing a tension etc. Consequently, we can’t stop it. If we just generally love food it is ok, but once we start eating for reasons such as escaping from problems, then it is not ok.
How to change your habit
Replace your bad habit with a healthy habit
Do you have a habit that you know that is not good for your health? For example – are you eating something that you know is not good for your health but you just like it? Why not try to replace this unhealthy snack with a healthy snack instead?
If you regularly eat chips or salty snacks with a lot of calories then replace them with healthy alternatives such as nuts or anything that is healthy but taste good as well. That way you can still eat snacks and it will not poison you. Apart from that, you will avoid gaining excessive weight. Find food that you can enjoy and it is beneficial for your health.
Another example is to replace watching TV with some inspirational Youtube videos and learn something new. You can even do a completely different activity than watching something. If you spend too much time by watching TV, you will miss out lot of things that can you do either outdoor or being present with people who matters to you.
Test your patience
Do you feel like eating that chocolate again? Try this – Put the chocolate in a distance when you can’t reach it and just observe it. Think of how you feel and if you really want to eat it or if it is just a trigger or habit.
You might even talk to the chocolate. 🙂 No matter what you feel, don’t eat it! Just watch the chocolate and leave it where it is and build your resilience.
With practise you will start noticing that your impulse to eat without control will slowly disappear. It takes time to develop this patience as you might have a lack of self-control in the beginning. It is normal. You will see how resilient you can become with time.
Once you get stronger you might even try to have only one piece of chocolate and then put it back. It can be very hard. However, that way you can at least taste it. If you fail and eat the whole pack of chocolate, you will need to start again with very strong self-control.
Stop it right now
Have you noticed yourself doing your old bad habit again? Stop it right now! Yes, it is hard, but really there is no other time. Just say no and then just stop right now!
If you say to yourself “Next time” you just procrastinate and most likely you will do it again and again later. Take the first step and say “No” to your bad habit today. It is the only way to start with a change.
Break the cycle
With a bad habit, it is like a loop. It usually goes in circles. You stop doing your habit and then with some trigger it can easily go back.
For example, if you are used to eating junk food and then you suddenly decide to start eating healthy. You might be doing well but then after some time, you might start craving for your junk food. So you will get some burger or oily food. Then you will get a dopamine pump by this food and consequently you might get back to your old routine.
When you get a temptation to get that burger, break this pattern and distract yourself with a completely different food such as carrot or banana or whatever.
It will be uncomfortable in the beginning to control yourself but with the time you will start doing it automatically. Your mind will be programmed that by eating healthy is beneficial for you. You will noticed feeling better, more energised. Therefore, it will help you to be more resistant to junk food.
Another example – you keep saying to yourself that you can’t do something, that something is hard. You keep feeding your mind with this negative thoughts. How to break the cycle of negative thoughts? Replace this statement with saying something nice to you. Even if you don’t feel like it at that time or thing it is not true, keep saying to yourself that you are smart or you can solve this problem etc. The more you practice it, you will start believing in it.
Think of positives that will you gain
Think of all the benefits that you can get when you get rid of your bad habit. You can visualise it or even draw it. For example – you might be spending too much money on shopping for expensive brands or you might be drinking alcohol or smoke too much. Think of how much money you will safe by not doing that or how healthier you will be.
Imagine it in full colours, feel it, follow inspirational people who have good habits and learn from them. See who they are and how you can be like them if you get rid of the behaviour that doesn’t serve you. Remind it to yourself anytime you start doing your repetitive bad habit routine.
Track your success
Are you doing well because you stopped doing your bad habit? Track all the benefits that you received. For example, you stopped watching the TV and now have more time for doing fun activities with your family. If you don’t have a family, then you might explored a new hobby such as learning a new musical instrument, dancing, reading or jogging.
Track what works and what doesn’t. It will help you to keep going. You will have evidence in front of you so that you will consciously know that you are on the right track.
Find a buddy to support you
We all have more motivation when we have someone around who can support us. Yes, of course, it is important to start with your own motivation but after a while, it really helps to have someone around you who you can keep your new good habit going. It can prevent you to don’t go back when you feel weak .
You are free to share your progress, difficulties or anything you want to express. Good luck on your journey!