We all do things that we know are unhealthy. We all do things that we know are bad for our bodies, our minds, even our emotional well-being. Yet we continue, not because we love doing what we’re doing (necessarily) but because whatever it is has become a habit. Break that habit, and your lifestyle can become a much healthier one. You’ll feel better about yourself, and you’ll enjoy yourself more. Here are some ways to do just that.
Find A Better Substitute
Simply stopping something cold turkey won’t work for most people. The longing for the thing you stopped, the cravings that come, will mean you soon go right back to what you were doing. Yes, it’s terrible, but you want those cravings to go away. The best way to combat this is to have a substitute – one that is better for you – ready to go as soon as you decide to stop the first habit. So, if you smoke, try chewing gum instead. If you drink too much alcohol, have some soft drinks at the ready, or try alcohol-free wine and beer instead. If you love potato chips, grab some bags of vegetable chips (beetroot and sweet potato are popular, but there are many other flavors to try). If you get stressed about things like a broken AC, find a solution like 24 hour AC service. There are always alternatives, so look for them before you stop your bad habit.
Catch Yourself Out
Habits are habits, not choices. For the most part, anyway. A habit is something you do without even thinking about it. You might light up a cigarette without even realizing you’ve got one in your hands. You might pour that extra glass of wine automatically. So to help you stop or cut down, you need to catch yourself in the act. Try to remain present at all times, and when you realize you are doing something that you shouldn’t be doing, tell yourself that you’re choosing to do it. You’re choosing to eat that bar of chocolate. You’re choosing to drink fizzy pop and not water. When you realize what you are doing, you can stop.
Make It Hard
If you make your bad habits hard and your good habits easy, you’ll soon start to swap over without overthinking about it. So if you eat too many cookies, don’t have cookies in the house. Have lots of fruit instead. If you smoke, don’t buy cigarettes but keep your gum handy. If you like wine but want to cut down, don’t buy any until the weekend, or buy smaller, one serving bottles instead. There are myriad ways to make your bad habits too difficult to bother with anymore, and that’s the best thing you can do. Habits form after approximately 66 days, so it should only take about two months for your old habits to disappear entirely from your life. At the same time, if you’re forming new, healthier habits, you’re helping your body repair itself.