Do you feel like bad habits die hard? When you're stuck in one, it's often easier to just give up fighting altogether and just simply let the habits overcome your efforts. Understanding the dynamic of how habits form will give you hope to forget about the concept of failure. As long as you're back in your comfort zone, you're fine. The only problem with this thinking is, you're wrong. You know you need to detox these areas of your life and you so desperately want to change, but you can't seem to get past square one.
No matter what you do, you keep slipping back. So what's stopping you from making a change in your life and seeking improvement?
You have the desire to change a bad habit, shouldn’t that be enough? If only it were that easy.
Often, having a strong desire to end a habit isn’t enough. Why? For one, habits, whether they are good or bad, have a tendency to stick around. They last forever and even when you conquer them, they can remain dormant for many years.
If you're not careful, they could creep up on you during a weak moment and then overcome you again.
Second, old habits offer something comforting because of their familiarity. Most of us are afraid to move forward for fear of leaving a life we know that is safe and exchanging it for a life that is unknown yet exciting. When this happens, we miss out on a great opportunity.
This is true especially in the case of yo-yo dieters who lose weight only to put it all back on again. You get sick of being overweight and decide to diet.
For a while you drop pounds.
Then without warning you lose control and begin to gain again. You feel possessed by a drive to eat and you cannot stop even though you know you are re-gaining all that weight you worked so hard to lose.
You hate and blame yourself and you may even feel a bit crazy.
Eventually you get sick of being overweight and you begin the cycle all over again.
The results are the same.
So how can you overcome a bad habit that has a stranglehold on you? Is there something stopping you? If there is, do you know what it is? Here's how you can stop your bad habits and begin changing your life:
Regardless of what habit you might have, it has a cause for existence. Something in your past made you acquire and develop this habit. Was there a painful or embarrassing situation you experienced in the past or did you experience encouragement in order to develop a habit? Did acquiring that habit make you feel good about yourself? Accepted? Loved? Admired? Or does it make you feel guilty, shameful or embarrassed?
Learning about what caused your bad habit will help you understand what's stopping you from achieving your goals. Oftentimes, by targeting a specific cause or reason, you will understand what your real motivation is for nurturing the habit and how you can finally put an end to it.
The best book I ever read on stopping smoking is The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr. The principles he applies to stopping the bad habit of smoking can be used for almost any habitual behaviour. Read my Review of The Easy Way To Stop Smoking to find out why.
Stop blaming your parents or your elder siblings or your friends for your toxic habits. Blaming others can stop you from moving on. You not only feel more bitter about your present situation, you could also end up hurting people's feelings. As a child, you probably are free of blame for doing things that you didn’t volunteer.
As an adult, however, it's a totally different story. You are an adult who is responsible for everything you do and say. You are probably under no duress to go on with your habit. Once you've acknowledged your own contribution, you can then move on.
"You can overcome fears if you identify them then confront them with support."
Fears are beneficial by nature because they are the result of our instincts and reflexes that help protect us in times of danger. However, fears have a nasty tendency of getting blown out of proportion. A fear can overwhelm and paralyze you even if it's just a tiny thing.
Is it fear that is stopping you? If it is, learn to accept it as your own. Denying you don’t have it or that it doesn’t exist will only aggravate your emotions. It is there and you know it. You can’t make it go away if you don’t tell yourself it's even there in the first place. After you have accepted it, learn to let it go. Because you know it to be your own, you have every right to throw your fears away.
Make a decision to replace a bad habit with a positive one. You can't kill a bad habit but you can stop doing it. Better yet, you can acquire a new one that will replace the bad habit and contribute to making a positive change in your life. Ask yourself, 'What do I want changed in my life? How badly do I want it? What am I willing to do to get it? What can I look forward to if I make that change?' The answers to these questions should be reasons enough to take action.
When you have made that decision, you should be able to feel a strong compulsion to take steps in the right direction. You alone can make that move, no one else. Now that you have the incentive to change your bad habits and create good ones, there should be no stopping you this time.
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