We all have bad habits. Some are just annoying like nail-biting or leaving wet towels on the floor but some are serious like smoking or taking illegal drugs. The more you focus on a bad habit, the stronger it has a hold on you and the more difficult it is to get rid of. However, every habit can be broken if you have a deep enough desire to break it. Here are the steps to breaking a habit:
- First you need to figure out why you have this habit. Does a person or situation cause you to do this? When did it start? How did you feel when you started doing this? How do you feel about yourself now? It is important to know if there are any triggers that keep you doing this habit. Be consciously aware of what you are doing and when you are doing it.
- Then you should record your thoughts in a journal. Write down your habits, the attached emotions, events, people, anything that pertains to the habit. What needs to be changed or eliminated?
- Find a replacement for your habit or create a reminder that you can’t avoid. If you bite your nails, keep gum handy for when you realize your fingers are in your mouth. If you leave wet towels on the floor, put a note on the bathroom mirror to remind you to pick them up. If you click your pen, buy straight pens instead of ones that click. If you are constantly talking or texting on your cell phone, keep it in your pocket or purse instead of carrying it around with you.
The more action you take to stop those bad or annoying habits, the sooner you will be able to break them. You can either take control of your habits or allow them to control you. The choice is yours. Stamp out those bad habits!!
In the 1920’s an American physiologist called Walter Cannon came up with a term to describe the chain of reactions in our bodies that help us deal with threatening circumstances. The term he used was the ‘fight-or-flight response‘ which appropriately explained the need for us to stay and deal with a conflict or run away to safety. When we are feeling stressed, our nervous system automatically reacts so we are ready to deal with the problem, however, many times this automatic response doesn’t help us resolve the problem and can actually make it worse.
When someone has hurt us we need to stop and look at the situation realistically and reasonably. Instead of just getting angry and fighting with the person or getting upset and running away, there is a way that might possibly resolve the situation and have a positive outcome. Really? We don’t have to let ourselves be controlled by our emotions. We can stop ourselves from reacting automatically.
In the past, whenever I faced a conflict, I would just allow the ‘fight-or-flight response‘ to kick in. Did it resolve the conflict? Of course not. I decided that resolution would be much better than reaction, so I started to use a different approach. When a situation arose, I would try to look at things from a different perspective and understand what was causing the problem. In order to do this I had to face the person, communicate my feelings with them and then forgive them for hurting me. I call this a ‘face and forgive response’. It certainly worked a lot better than fighting or running away. It actually resolved the problem most of the time.
How does it work? First, stop yourself from reacting immediately – count to 10, take a deep breath.
- FACE the person by CALMLY starting a conversation that might bring out the reason for their actions
- ask them if they are having a bad day and why they said or did what they did
- ask if they are going through something difficult themselves
- ask if they are under some kind of stress
- is there anything you can do to help them
- Tell them that their words or actions hurt you
- Then FORGIVE them either mentally (to yourself) or verbally tell them if possible
If you can’t remain calm or the other person can’t control their emotions, then walk away and go somewhere until you are both able to carry on a quiet conversation. NEVER stay in a stressful situation when your emotions are out of control because the result will never be good.
Fighting or running away will never resolve a problem, it will just keep you holding onto it. Wouldn’t it be better to try to resolve things and have a positive outcome? Don’t just let your automatic response kick in when you are facing difficulty. Don’t fight or flee, instead FACE and FORGIVE!
It is very important that we think about how we talk to ourselves. Words are very powerful and they can affect us in a positive or negative way. If we are speaking to someone and want to make a good impression, we are usually very careful with our words. We don’t want people to think we are insulting them or criticizing them. Yet when we speak to ourselves, we often use words that are demeaning, unkind or damaging. We tell ourselves that we are stupid, worthless and insignificant. The voice in our mind keeps reminding us that there is something wrong with us. Over and over again we repeat these false beliefs until they are so ingrained in our brain that the truth is obscured.
We should never use negative words when we talk to ourselves. Telling ourselves that we are stupid or worthless is just not true. We all have our flaws and imperfections and of course we do things wrong and make mistakes. However, we are all in the same boat and nobody is any worse or better than anyone else. There are enough people in the world that will tear us down because of their own insecurities, so we don’t have to help them. Instead of tearing ourselves down, we should be telling ourselves what awesome abilities and characteristics we have.
- Make a list of your abilities, strengths and positive character traits. Focus on these instead of your weaknesses and negative character traits.
- Then create some positive statements or affirmations that you can repeat every day. Start them with ‘I’ (I am a good friend, I like to smile, I am going to be nice to someone today, I am going to have a good day). Say these statements first thing in the morning and also during the day so you can create a habit of positive thinking.
- Pay attention to your thoughts. Catch any negative thoughts and stop them from becoming negative words or actions. Think of a positive thought that can replace the negative thought.
Changing your thinking will also change the way you talk. It isn’t easy and it takes time but once you start thinking positive thoughts, you will stop hurting yourself and be able to enjoy your life.
So, how do you talk to yourself?
Always feel like something bad is going to happen? Nothing seems to go right? Everyone else has a better life? You always get the short end of the stick?
If a black cloud seems to be hanging over you all the time, it is probably because you have developed a habit of negative thinking and you are continually looking at life with a negative perspective. Your distorted perception will stop you from finding any happiness or success in your life.
The only way to brighten up your life and get rid of that black cloud is to become aware of what you are thinking and then try to develop a new habit of positive thinking. Don’t just let your thoughts wander around without paying attention to them. When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought:
- stop for a few seconds and take a deep breath
- try to visualize something that makes you happy or peaceful
- replace your negative thought with a positive thought
- say a positive affirmation
- say ‘I can’ instead of ‘I can’t’
You can stop that black cloud from hanging over you. Always be aware of what you are thinking and work hard to replace those negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Start today and you’ll soon see some positive changes in your life! It worked for me and it can work for you:)
What kind of habits do you have? Good, bad, annoying? Do they help you navigate life easier or do they cause you to stumble and fall?
Many of our habits are bad habits that stop us from having a happy and successful life. They block us from achieving our goals, stop us from developing good relationships and cause harm to us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Think about the habits that you have. Some of our habits are not very obvious, but others are. Do your habits help you or harm you? Sit down with a pen and paper draw 2 columns titled good habits and bad habits. Then determine which of your habits are good for you and which ones are bad for you. For example:
Good habits – staying fit, eating healthy, being considerate, showing compassion, donate clothing, volunteer for a local organization, giving hugs, smiling at others, remembering special occasions
Bad habits – smoking, biting nails, getting angry, yelling at my kids, always being late, eating junk food, not sleeping enough, feeling depressed, using negative self-talk
Your list could be endless because we have so many habits that we never even think about. But that is the problem. We NEED to think about what we are doing and what we are saying. Being consciously aware is the first step to making positive change. Don’t stay stuck in bad habits. Start thinking and work on eliminating those bad habits.
Every day we are faced with choices. In every situation, we have to decide what our reaction will be. We can be sad; we can be mad; or we can be glad.
I’m sure we would all choose to be glad so why do we keep making bad choices that cause unhappiness or anger? Often it is because we have developed a habit of looking at things from a negative perspective. We may be so stuck in a negative rut that we don’t even know we can change how we feel. The truth is, we can’t control our feelings but we can control how we react. We need to be aware of our feelings and learn to manage them.
When a difficult situation arises, we need to stop for a few seconds and think before we just react. The key is thinking and being aware of how we feel. If we suddenly feel unhappy or angry, we can stop ourselves and think about the situation in a positive way. This could prevent us from reacting badly and causing harm to ourselves and those around us.
So what choice will you make? Will you choose to be sad, mad or glad?
A habit is a behaviour that you do repeatedly until it becomes automatic. Once you have done the same thing over and over again for a period of time, you don’t even think about it anymore. We develop good habits and we develop bad habits. The good habits push us forward so we can enjoy a happy and successful life. The bad habits are the ones that hold us back and cause problems in our lives.
If you want to stop your bad habits, you need to:
- clearly define your bad, negative habits
- make a list
- number them in priority sequence starting with the one you would like to change the most
- determine what new, positive habits you can develop to overcome your bad habits
- stopping a bad habit is hard unless you have something to replace it with
- thinking about new habits will fill up your time with positive energy
- create an action plan
- decide which new habit you are going to work on first and the steps you need to take
- write down the steps in a journal, daybook or calendar for 21 consecutive days (research shows it takes about 21-30 days to develop a new habit)
- each day, follow these steps until you feel confident your habit is well established
- if you slip backwards or miss a day, keep going and don’t give up
- at the end of 21 days if you haven’t reached your goal, continue for another 21 days until the habit is set
- celebrate your successes
- at certain points (weekly, biweekly, monthly) reward yourself with a small treat or special event as a motivation to yourself
Do you know what your bad habits are? Maybe some of these sound familiar?
- being late for work, school, appointments, meetings
- hitting the snooze button more than once before getting up in the morning
- procrastinating on paying bills, filing taxes, keeping house clean, working on projects
- talking instead of listening
- not spending time with family, friends
- forgetting important dates and occasions
- not returning phone calls and emails
- not eating proper meals
- avoiding regular exercise
- not keeping promises
- answering cell phones and texts continuously
- surfing the internet, playing video games
- trying to control everyone around you
- biting nails, tapping fingers
Changing a bad habit can be very difficult but also very possible with commitment. Developing new, positive habits can transform your life. Replacing bad habits with good habits will improve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. Having good habits will increase self-esteem and help you overcome:
- feelings of worthlessness
- fears and insecurities
- poor behaviours
- pressures and stresses
- depression and anxiety
This is excellent advice from Dave Ramsey, who is a financial wizard, speaker, author and business owner. He speaks from experience, having been financially stable when he was in his twenties and then losing everything. This led him to research ways on how to make money and be more responsible in making financial decisions. He now helps others become debt-free through his program, Total Money Makeover. You may think you are in a serious financial situation but there may be hope if you follow Dave’s Seven Baby Steps. Almost anyone can become debt-free with his great advice. Visit his website at http://www.daveramsey.com and find out how you can become financially responsible.
Do you realize that many of your habits and behaviours have been passed on through the generations of your family. Some of these are bad habits and inappropriate behaviours that may be referred to as a ‘generational curse’. Our parents may be dealing with anger issues, depression, addictions, fears or insecurities because they have developed these problems growing up in a negative and abusive environment. In turn, they will teach you these negative habits and behaviours which you will struggle with throughout your life and pass on to your children.
The good news is, you DO NOT have to continue living the same lifestyle. STOP THE CYCLE NOW and learn how to change your bad habits and behaviours. How??
- determine what your family has passed on that isn’t good for you
- decide what can be changed
- choose to start making changes
- take action and don’t give up
It isn’t easy, but you can do it. With time and patience, you can stop that negative cycle and find happiness and success in your life. If I can do you, you can do it!!