Investing In Yourself
Part 3: Breaking Bad Habits
Most of the time, bad habits are simply a way of dealing with both stress and boredom. They can vary, from biting your nails, not sticking to your budget and overspending or making emotional investments. These are all simple responses to stress and boredom. However, it doesn't have to be this way. You can teach yourself new and healthy ways to deal with stress and boredom which can then be substituted in place of your bad habits.
All the habits that you have in your life right now, both good and bad, are in your life for a reason. In some way, these behaviours provide a benefit to you, even though they are bad for you in some ways - for example, opening your email inbox as soon as you turn on your computer can make you feel more connected, however at the same time, looking at all of those emails can destroy your productivity, divide your attention and overwhelm you with stress. Because some of these bad habits provide some type of benefit in your life it can become difficult to simply eliminate them.
Bad habits address certain needs in our lives and for this reason it's better to replace your bad habits with a healthier behaviour that addresses that same need. So how do we go about this? Below are some ideas that will help you break your bad habits and begin thinking about the process in a new way.
- Choose a substitute for your bad habit: We all need a plan in place on how we will respond when we face a stressful situation or boredom hits. Whether this is in the form of breathing exercises or simply going for a walk, you need to make sure that you have a plan in place
- Cut out as many triggers as possible: If you eat cookies when they're in the house, don't buy them. If the first thing yu do when you sit on the couch is grab the tv remote, hide it in another room. If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is check your phone, leave it in the kitchen. Make it easier on yourself to break bad habits by avoiding the things that cause them.
- Surround yourself with people who support you: Getting support from people around you makes all the difference when you're trying to change. Don't underestimate the power of making new friends that can help you align with your goals.
- Get a partner: How often do you hear of people who 'diet in private'? This sounds all well and good, as if you don't tell anyone then no-one will know you've failed, right? Wrong. Pair up with someone. Keep eachother accountable. You're more motivated to make the change when you have someone with you along the way.
- Plan for failure: We all slip up every now and then, it's what makes up human. Instead of beating yourself up, make a plan for it. We all get of track, but what separates top performers from everyone else is how quickly they get back on track. Make a plan for ways that will get you back on track quicker when you do mess-up.
Where to from here? The first step that we can take in breaking bad habits is 'awareness'. It's easy to get caught up in how you feel about your bad habits, however this doesn't help you make that change. Simply tracking why and when you notice you're reverting to your bad habits will help you become more aware of the behaviour and can provide you with many ideas on how to stop it. Download the 'Habit Changer' template below to begin tracking your progress and paving the way to removing those bad habits.