Breaking bad habits can be difficult, especially if they’ve been part of your life for a long time. But understanding where they came from and how you can disconnect from your inner thought process can help ease the process. Here are some steps I’ve taken myself to help break long-standing habits with more ease:
1. Choose only 1 and be specific
Deciding that you want to live healthier or to be more successful won’t help you to stop self-sabotaging actions. You need to zoom in on 1 action that you need to stop doing in order to make progress in achieving the overall goal. Don’t overwhelm yourself and diminish your chances of making a change by trying to tackle more than 1 habit at a time. Be specific – eg. Smoking, snacks/chocolate, going to bed too late, biting your fingernails etc, negative self-talk.
2. Decide what you want
Now that you’ve identified the habit you want to break, it’s time to figure out how it started and exactly why you want to stop doing it.
Firstly, try and remember how it started. What triggered the action. Now narrow it down to the feelings you had. Write it down. Once you have identified the trigger(s) you will be able to adjust your behaviour or avoid situations that tempt you to regress.
Write down all the reasons you have decided to change this habit.
Now, visualize yourself in 6 months where you are no longer doing that 1 thing. What do you see? What are the ripple effects in your life? Write all of this down.
Keep this list safe and refer to it whenever you feel the need to go back on your decision.
3. Stay present
Much of what we do happens on autopilot. By staying present, i.e. being focused and engaged in the here and now – not distracted or mentally absent, you are aware of your behaviour. Simply by having this awareness you will be able to stop yourself when you are about to fall back into an old pattern.
4. Understand your thoughts
It is important to understand that your thoughts are just that – thoughts. You don’t have to identify with the beliefs and the emotions coming through in the mind-chatter. Whenever a negative statement pops up, understand that it is an old belief and that you know that you now choose to believe differently. When you start thinking about doing what you set out to stop, ask ‘Why do you want to do that?’. Whatever reason comes through to justify the action will be the result of an old belief. Have a conversation with yourself and remember the reasons you decided to choose differently.
Whatever the justification, the gratification you will get from indulging once more will never be as good as the satisfaction and joy you will feel by sticking to your decision!
5. Be kind to yourself
Always. Picking up a bat to hit yourself over the head with when you regressed will not help or motivate you in any way. You’ve taken the first step, and by doing that you have already won! Every day is a new beginning. If yesterday didn’t go that well, you can do better today.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and look forward to sharing the next one. You can contact me on +27 83 375 9945, or email email@example.com to find out more about how I can assist you on this path through Healing, Coaching or Hypnotherapy.
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– Crystal Energy Healer, Psychologist Life Coach and Hypnotherapist in Cape Town, Western Cape. Contact me for Chakra balancing, Solution Focused Life Coaching and Clinical Hypnosis.
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