We’re all human and we’re not perfect. We all have bad habits and things we’d like to change or improve upon, but it takes work and sometimes we just don’t know where to start. We all know what we should do—like exercise, stop smoking, eat healthier and get plenty of sleep—but life happens, and things don’t always happen the way we want. The bright side is that it’s possible, you can do it, and it’s time to kick your bad habits. Here at Happy Go Lively we’re here to help you with five simple steps.
Step 1: Identification
Identify and don’t over think what you’re wanting to change. A lot of times we start with one thing it just spirals and the next thing you know you’ve thrown yourself into a quarter/mid-life crisis. Again, we’re human and have a natural tendency to attribute blame when our new habits and improvements don’t stick. We then blame ourselves: we are the problem when the reality is that it might just be the strategy we were using to begin with. You need to identify what you want to change and leave it at that.
Step 2: Triggers
Now that you know what you want to change, you must understand your triggers. Understanding how we make decisions is the key. Often, we repeat bad habits without even realize it. Take the time to identify: what are your triggers? What do you do to manage the painful feelings that are triggered? Try taking out a pen and piece of paper, start making notes of things and feelings you observe.
Step 3: Patience
This might be the simplest yet most challenging steps. The hard truth is that change takes time. Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t quit even when you don’t see significant change. The important piece is to stick with it.
Step 4: Change Your Surroundings
You might find yourself doing the same bad habit in a specific place. For example, if you’re trying to quit smoking you might find that you always take smoke breaks in the back of the building. The back of the building could actually be a subliminal cue. Try switching up your surroundings, even in the smallest way.
Step 5: Review
Bad things happen as well as bad days and chances are that relapses will happen, and that’s okay. Setbacks are normal and it’s okay to expect them. The important thing is to have a plan to get back on track. Use the relapse as way to reflect and understand and how you can avoid it in the future.
Breaking a bad habit is an ongoing process that doesn’t happen overnight. We are all different. Figure out a plan and stick to it but remember that you have to be patient with yourself too. Any change out of your usual routine will be difficult to break, but the change will be more likely to stick if you’re consistent, patient, and really work to make sure it fits a new lifestyle that you’re able to maintain. You can do this!