I was thinking about how easy it could be if one could just replace our bad habits with positive habits. Life would be that much less complicated if we could just about replace our habits of smoking, binge drinking, thinking negatively or even as a matter of fact, unhealthy eating. Let’s accept the fact that all of us do have some or the other bad habits that pulls us down in more ways than one. Therefore in this article I would like to highlight ways to overcome bad habits and even better replace the same, with a good habit.
1. Identify the bad habit:
First things first, let’s be honest with ourselves and identify the bad habit without any prejudice. Once we are in sync with which habits of ours are pulling us down financially or emotionally, then we can start working on it immediately. The solution always lies in identifying the problem first and it is no different here.
2. Identifying the trigger:
Identifying the trigger is critical towards moving away from bad habits. For example when I was a chronic smoker I identified various triggers which made me light up. For me, sitting with friends for a drink or a cup of coffee was a sure way of lighting up. Therefore I took necessary precautions to avoid those situations and it’s been more than 5 years since I have lit up again. Identify all the triggers for each one of your bad habits.
3. Replace those triggers with a positive habit:
Once the triggers have been identified then it will be that much easier to replace it with a positive habit. Say for example, one tends to park themselves in front of the TV, late into the night then replacing it with a positive habit of reading a good book or listening to music will be a better alternative. The more creative one is, the easier it will be to replace our urges.
4. Be consistent for a month with the positive habit:
By experience and popular opinion it usually takes about 3-4 weeks for new habits to be formed in humans. It is essential to ensure that we stick on to any new formed habits for a month before it becomes an ongoing habit. When I cultivated a habit of waking up early, it was a disaster for the first month but it has become a habit now and I tend to get up more or less at the same time every day. So any habit formation in the human mind does tend to become a habit when done consistently over a period of 25-30 days.
5. Avoid situations where you tend to get back to your old habits:
Once you have decided to stick on to the new habit it is important that we avoid situations which might influence our new habit. If you normally drink or smoke when you go out with your friends, I would suggest that you stay away for some time in doing this. The first thing I did when I kicked the habit of smoking was not taking any breaks during office hours, I also scheduled meetings immediately after my lunch since that was the time when the urge to smoke was overbearing. How you come out with your own game plan is critical, to stay on with the new behavior generator.
6. Realize that the urges will be strong but will eventually fade away
The urges for the bad habit will come out in waves and initially it will be strong. Eventually if we resist either by doing some deep breathing, mediation, walking around or even exercising, then the urge will fade away. The first few minutes of weathering the storm is important to condition our mind to taste success in our new habit generator.
7. Ask for help:
Get your family and friends to help and support you in your new habit formation. Even seeking support from an online forum and reaching out to people who might have overcome similar bad habits will give you new insights. With technology at our fingertips, reaching out to people who are facing the same predicament should not be that much of an issue. On the contrary asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of being responsible for ourselves and for the people who care for us.
8. Stay positive:
Whenever negative thoughts do come, always replace it with a more powerful positive thought. Say for example if you feel like accepting your friends request for a night out then replace it with a positive thought of exercising or going home and eating a simple home cooked meal with your loved one. There will be many instances where you will be tempted to be influenced, but if you stick on to your objectives you will eventually walk a better person.
9. Failure is not the end of the road:
As in any new endeavor, failing to stick on to a new positive habit is no cakewalk. Be ready to fail many times in reaching your objective and more importantly as long as you learn from your failure it will never be a wasted effort. Remember all successful people failed many a times before they eventually succeeded. Therefore accept failure gracefully and move on with a different strategy, a positive and a can do attitude.
When I do look back at lot of bad habits which I have navigated successfully by using the above pointers, I realize that the journey was more enjoyable than the destination itself and in each failure the lessons learnt have made me a better person. I am sure each one of you will experience the same in your journey.
If you liked this article do share this on your social network circle and would also love to hear your own experience here on overcoming bad habits and the strategies you have used. The whole purpose of me writing this Blog is to reach out to maximum people and impact them positively, and it will not be possible by me alone.