Bad habits decrease the quality of your life and can hurt you, both physically and mentally. It’s time you figure out how to replace them with good ones.
Let’s be clear about one thing first – bad habits exist for a reason. They are a direct result of one of two things – stress and boredom. In other words, they serve as emotional outlets, so you just need to find a healthy replacement for them to fight stress and boredom in a way that’s truly beneficial to you.
1. Identify and remove the triggers
Make an effort to identify what triggers your bad habit. For example, maybe you light a cigarette when you’re drinking in the bar. So, stop going there for a while or at least avoid alcoholic drinks when you’re there. If you reach for the remote as soon as you sit on the sofa, hide the remote somewhere further so that it’s not so easy to get it.
More precisely, it’s a specific environment that triggers your bad habit, so the first step is to change the environment.
2. Find a companion
Giving up smoking or losing weight is something that many of us try to do on our own. You know very well why you keep quiet about that – so that no one knows if you fail.
However, it’s much easier to resist temptation if you find somebody willing to give up the same bad habit. Together, you can go through difficult patches, give each other support and motivate each other. It’s easier to stay on the right track when you know someone is expecting you to do better and that same someone is also relying on you.
3. Be prepared for occasional failure
You are human, which means you are going to make a mistake at some point. It’s important to be ok with that – the moment you slip (and you will), recognize what you did, be gentle with yourself and move on as nothing happened. Don’t beat yourself over that, simply realize it happens to everybody eventually.
So, gather your will again and get on track, without negative thoughts such as “I’m a failure – I can’t even do this right.”
4. Find healthier substitution
As said before, bad habits help you cope with stress and boredom, so it’s not recommendable to quit them altogether. Rather, find a substitution that isn’t detrimental to your health that will still serve as an emotional outlet.
For example, Hoopers Vapour is a great online supplier for those who want to substitute smoking for vaporing. Doing push-ups or jumping jacks works for those who get the urge to bite their nails when they get anxious. Getting your fingers busy when you want to open the fridge can be quite helpful (you can draw, fix something, dust, or do puzzles). In other words, don’t negate your emotional need when it occurs – simply find a new way to release it.
5. Replacement suggestions
As you need to find the right replacement for your bad habit, here are some of the most common bad habits and recommendations on their alternatives:
Stress eating – when you’re stressed out, you turn to fast and sugary food. The alternative: when you feel the urge to eat something fatty or sugary, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Clear your mind and give it a chance to ease. You’ll notice you feel more relaxed.
Overspending – putting yourself under financial stress because you are a spendthrift is also damaging your mental health. Instead, identify how much money you earn vs. how much you spend every month. Next, determine what would be your desirable daily budget and stick to it. The moment you reach that limit, stop and tell yourself you’ll get yourself something nice at the end of the month.
Nail-biting – you can try a few tricks here: you can rub your nails with pepper or you can buy foul-tasting nail polish to stop yourself from biting nails. Also, try getting your nails done – you won’t wish to ruin them.
Losing sleep – lack of sleep can be seriously detrimental to your health and quality of life. Natural remedies like chamomile and lavender can relax you in the evening, making it easier to fall asleep. Taking melatonin can help, too. Do your best to avoid TV, laptop, and your smartphone 2 hours before bed – instead, read a book or a magazine or listen to relaxing music.
Bad habits won’t stop overnight – just like everything else, it takes time and patience and readiness to slip from time to time. Just don’t forget to get up every time you fall – that’s the secret of success.