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Although we are more than one month into 2021, there’s still a lot of us thinking about what we resolve to do better this year. Maybe your New Year’s resolutions didn’t quite work out– dry January or Veganuary may well have gone out of the window after a couple of days- especially after the announcement of another lockdown in the UK.
But whatever happened, nobody really needed a January 1st deadline to supposedly get their lives in order.
You can opt to change your life at any point throughout the year. Yes, really.
Most people who want to make a change in their lives have to go through the changing of certain habits that they have adopted over time.
Why Are Habits So Hard to Quit?
It goes without saying that habits are incredibly difficult to quit– especially bad ones that you know you really should quit, but haven’t ever done.
In this case, deciding to go through the process of quitting is only half of the battle. Actually working through the addiction and the withdrawal process is the hardest part.
Bad habits interrupt a person’s life in many ways. They can stop you from being able to accomplish your goals, and can cause extremely negative effects on your physical and mental health if they are allowed to take over your life.
So, how does one make changes and focus on taking the right steps toward their freedom away from these unhealthy habits?
Let’s take a little look through where habits come from, and the things you can do to quit them and stop them from taking over your life.
Think About Where Your Habits Started
Most bad habits are the result of one of two things: stress and boredom. And, let’s face it- most of us are very bored and very stressed these days!
Sometimes, however, they can be the result of much deeper issues that can be difficult to deal with.
So that’s where they often start, but it’s easy to use these natural responses as an excuse to continue with the unhealthy habits. Over time they can affect you physically, emotionally, and even financially if they are not dealt with in a healthy and timely manner.
Taking the time to find the root cause is a great start to knowing how to quit a habit. You might want to think about turning to talking and behavioral therapists who can assist you in identifying and handling a traumatic event which could have caused an unhealthy, destructive behavior to begin with.
Being able to work through these things is a crucial way of being able to start overcoming the things that bind you to unhealthy habits.
Set Yourself a Quitting Deadline
You should have in mind a date to quit your bad habit. Rather than waking up one day with the ‘I QUIT’ mentality you will give yourself enough time to prepare your mind and body for the day you finally decide that enough is enough–you no longer want the habits to be a part of your life.
You may begin to wonder what draws you toward your bad habit anyway. You might notice how your body feels the next day after eating excessively processed foods full of fat and sugar. You’re done with hangovers and the bitter taste of stale tobacco in your mouth in the morning is making you sick.
This is an incredibly important part of the psychology of setting an end date for your bad habit and definitely helps when it comes to finally quitting!
Replace Your Bad Habits With Better Ones
As human beings, we are governed by routine. Sometimes that can be a good thing and can keep us healthy. For example waking up at a specific time every day, and eating a healthy breakfast is a good habit. A bad habit would be to wake up every day and light up a cigarette from your bed is not such a good habit.
Smoking is a good example of A habit that can be replaced with a good one. For example, getting over the Nicotine cravings by taking medication such as Champix tablets or by starting to vape. You may then be able to wean yourself off of them and have no need for nicotine in life whatsoever.
Do something different throughout the day during the times that you would usually spend smoking. For example if your evening habit is to have a drink, a couple of cigarettes and just grab something quickly to eat, why not consider spending your evenings learning new and healthy recipes? Or taking the time to learn another new skill? You may soon start to forget about your need to smoke cigarettes if you occupy your mind.
That doesn’t mean to say that quitting a bad habit is as easy as that. Each of us reacts to changes in our lives differently so it may be worth doing something to note every day since starting to smoke. Some choose to keep a diary about their experiences, while others may choose to just note it down on a calendar. Seeing directly how long it has been since you last smoked a cigarette helps to keep the motivation going.
So many of our habits are linked to specific needs in our lives. It is therefore better to be able to replace your habits with healthier behaviours that may address those same needs. You can’t simply expect to be able to cut out your habit without replacing it with something else. Doing this will just lead you to have more needs that are no longer met making your transition much more tough to deal with.
Avoid the Triggers
It might be that tiredness and stress can lead you to delve into your bad habit. For example at the end of the long day it might be tempting to grab junk food that you know isn’t good for you and that with you your addiction. Avoid being triggered by making sure that you have enough energy throughout your day and that you actively avoid the places (and maybe people) that lead you astray…