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This week we have a special guest post from Victoria Hart, who is a lifestyle blogger and founder of Twenty-Five-Thoughts. Victoria shares with us her top tips on breaking bad habits and replacing them with new, healthier ones.
Let’s take a look.
How To Break Bad Habits & Form Healthier Ones
Habits. Whether we realize it or not, we all have them. Some are good habits we have formed, such as brushing our teeth and going to sleep around the same time each night. Some are keystone habits, meaning they often lead to further positive habits, such as making our beds. Some are not so positive and may include things like smoking, biting our nails, or gossiping.
Negative habits, just like all habits, are actually subconscious behaviours that we may not even realize we are doing. Keeping this in mind, I have compiled a list of tangible strategies you can use to become more aware of these habits, break them, and form healthier ones instead!
IDENTIFY YOUR HABITS
The first and most important step in adjusting your habits is to honestly sit down and think about the habits you currently have in your life. How many of them are positive, and how many are negative. Make a list and write down habits that you know are NO LONGER SERVING YOU! Get as specific as you can. Once you have identified behaviours that you would like to eliminate, you can move onto the next step.
PINPOINT YOUR TRIGGERS
This is a vital step when it comes to breaking bad habits. It’s important to pay attention to your thoughts & feelings when you are feeling an urge to engage in this habit. Do you feel stressed? Anxious? Sad? Whatever it is, note it. It’s not so much about changing anything, as it as about noticing. By noticing what triggers you, you are far more equipped to be able to handle situations that might fuel your habit.
REALIZE THAT WILLPOWER & REPETITION ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS
People will try to fool you into believing that breaking habits is easy, but that’s often not the case. You will need to repeat AVOIDING the habit over and over again, in order to break the habit. It’s really the exact same way that your habit was formed in the first place. Repetition, repetition, repetition. This brings me to the concept of having willpower. It won’t always be easy. Habits are so ingrained over time, that it really can be difficult to break them. By having willpower, you will be able to retrain the mind into understanding that this habit is not necessary nor useful.
FOCUS ON YOUR “WHY”
Plain and simple, you won’t break a habit unless you are totally dedicated to your WHY. That is the most important step in this whole process. For example, let’s say you have decided to quit smoking. If your WHY is because other people are telling you to, it’s far less likely that you will be successful in quitting. On the other hand, if you are quitting because you are concerned about your health, you want to save money, and because you genuinely are sick of this habit, there is a good chance that you will be successful. Whenever you find yourself triggered, or notice you are performing this habit, go right back to your WHY. You will be amazed at what a difference it can make by just focusing on it.
Rewarding yourself for reaching milestones is a huge factor when it comes to breaking habits. By positive reinforcement, you will feel proud of yourself and encouraged to keep on going! Remember, YOU are your own biggest cheerleader. Supporting yourself and thanking yourself is the most encouraging thing you can do. Whether this means treating yourself to a massage, going for a walk, or simply having a nap.
Breaking habits is hard work! Don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out for support. Calling a family member or friend is a great way to motivate you and remind yourself of why you want to eliminate this habit in the first place. Depending on the habit you are hoping to break, there are often online communities available as well, which can offer excellent support. Forums and Facebook group are great places to start.
FOCUS ON ADDING, RATHER THAN SUBTRACTING
I saved my favourite, and most important point for last. Whatever the habit is that you are trying to break, it’s SO MUCH EASIER when you are adding positive habits into your life in the process. By adding positive behaviours and habits into your life, you will realize that it simply leaves less time in your life for the negative habits to occur. If you have a bad habit of watching Netflix or laying around on the couch every single night, for example. Try ADDING something more positive into your routine. Take up running or an exercise class, make a coffee date with a friend or start reading a new book. I also find that by focusing on new and positive habits, your mind will be less likely to dwell on whatever it is that you are getting rid of.
There you have it. By following these 7 tangible steps, I think you will find breaking habits & forming new ones just a little bit easier. Remember, it is a journey and breaking ingrained habits is not always an easy task. Have faith in yourself and know that deep down, you are more than capable of breaking your habits!
YOU’VE GOT THIS!
Victoria’s self-care tip:
“For me, practicing self care is about giving my body what it needs. So sometimes that means doing absolutely nothing. Sometimes it means having a bath and being in bed by 9 pm. Sometimes it means doing a face mask, a light yoga practice, and lighting a candle. Listen to your body & it will tell you exactly what it needs.”- Victoria Hart
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