Why are we the way we are? According to the words of Aristotle, everything we do is in the service of gladness. We narrow down our options and choose what makes us the happiest.
But boy, did that guy have it wrong!
If anything, your brain does the opposite of that. It’s pretty rare that we consciously weigh the benefits and consequences and make clear choices about everything. To put it short: most of us are usually on autopilot. Perfect example? Unhealthy habits. They are destructive and prevent us from being successful in life and maintaining our health. Yet, we make bad decisions every day (because, why not?).
While we may frantically want to stop these behaviors, we become so accustomed to them that “changing” is usually tricky. This is why they are called unhealthy habits. And of course, breaking free from these habits is a long-lasting struggle and may even require the help of an expert. But there are a few hands-on ways to strive for a positive change.
Below, we share a few of the most effective ways to break unhealthy habits and lead a fuller life:
Keep your temptations at bay
If you want to eat healthier, remove unhealthy foods from your refrigerator and pantry. If you’re going to quit using drugs and smoking, get rid of every possible item that urges you to reach for it. It not only keeps temptation at bay, but by not purchasing these items, you create a disincentive to do so.
However, if you find it challenging to quit substance abuse on your own, find a reputable rehabilitation center and get your sober life back. One of the best rehab centers is the Delphi Health Group; it offers personalized care for individuals struggling to change their lives for the better. Moreover, the money you’ve been wasting on life-threatening habits can be put into something useful- like getting a second life!
Have goals and stick to them
People frequently take on more than they are capable of handling. They promise to use the treadmill every day. But instead of beginning slowly, they run for 30 minutes the first time. It can not only cause physical harm, but it can also cause them to stop using the treadmill right away. Rather than making a massive effort, it is better to set incremental goals.
Setting goals can help you trigger new behaviors, mentor your focus, and maintain your momentum in life. Goals also help to focus your attention and promote a sense of self-mastery.
Find your cues
If you want to reveal the cue for bad habits, try writing down at least five events when the urge for automatic behavior strikes. Consider who else is on the scene, what time of day it is, and what happened before. The cue should be evident after a few days.
Once done, try altering your routine. Yes, this can be more difficult and may need a bit of experimentation, but if you could set up a reward system, that’ll help. Write down your emotions and impressions as the routine wraps up. Be cautious and accepting of whatever you discover. After some trial and error, you’ll notice the rewards of this technique.
Focus on the healthy habits
This method will eventually starve your bad habits to death. Eliminating bad habits draws your attention to the negative aspects of your life. You can end up feeling confined rather than relieved. But when you concentrate on breaking bad habits, you become more aware of yourself and deprive yourself of the pleasures you are accustomed to having in your life.
While you are aware that avoiding your bad habits is preferable in the long run, those unhealthy habits are a part of who you are, whether you like it or not. They were the coping mechanisms you used to deal with stress, nervousness, and low self-esteem. Your life may seem less bearable without them. But it is essential to put this art of your ego behind you and focus on healthier choices.
Have a support system
If you’ve been engaging in the same unhealthy habits for a long time, you’ve likely encircled yourself with people who also engage in the same behavior. But it’s about time you distance yourself from such people. For example, if you’ve become part of the office crew that gets wasted midweek, try mingling with other workmates who indulge in healthy habits you’d like to adopt. Like-minded individuals can serve as excellent motivators and support systems to keep you on the right track.
Alter the loop
According to recent research, habits are stored in the brain differently than more traditional memories. Your emotions trigger behavior that ends when an urge is quenched. These discoveries have two ramifications. The first- if your patterns are firm, they are hard to break. This is why drug addicts and alcoholics relapse, even after years of sobriety.
Second- there is no such thing as letting go of old habits. Instead, it would be best to replace the bad habit with a new routine. Reprogramming the behavior is the most efficient way to accomplish this. However, if you want the new habit to stick, you must make it more potent than the old one. Fortunately, you can more easily solidify the new behavior by altering your habit loop, making it more difficult to revert to the old one.
When it comes to eliminating unhealthy habits from life, it is essential to remember that the journey will be long and quite challenging. You will continually be tempted to return to your old ways, but hey, good things take time. So buckle up, stick to the methods mentioned above and start preparing for a life free of bad habits and full of positivity.