All You Need To Know About Changing Habits
Are you trying to quit smoking? Or are you trying to overcome procrastination? All of us have bad habits that we wish to quit. However, it is easier said than done. We cannot just quit a bad habit with a snap of our fingers.
Habituation is a deeply rooted mental process that takes time to instill and debunk. However, it is not impossible to quit a bad habit. With proper dedication and commitment and the help of professionals like those from Positive Reset Mental Health Clinic, we can quit any habit we wish.
Why is it so hard to change your habits?
A habit is any behavior or action we repeat so often that we have started doing it unconsciously. They can be mandatory, and the person doing them usually doesn’t notice them, only to be aware of them when someone else points them out. If they go unnoticed for a long time, habits form specific neural pathways so we can do them without thinking about them. This is why old habits are hard to break, similarly it is difficult to develop new habits.
How do habits develop?
The human brain favors taking the easiest route. As soon as we start a new behavior, our brain develops a neural pathway to transmit signals associated with that behavior. When we repeat a behavior, we repeatedly use the same neural pathway, which causes our brain to become accustomed to it. Because the brain uses its familiar pathways by default, we may unconsciously resort to certain behaviors or even carry them out.
Habits can be both desirable and undesirable. For example, exercise is a good habit. It helps us stay healthy. On the other hand, many people also have bad habits like smoking and drinking. These are the bad habits you might want to break but can’t.
Where do we go wrong?
Changing our behavior often requires self-designed life plans and goals. Unless you’re already suffering from a diagnosed disorder like addiction, you won’t be able to find the exact arrangement that works perfectly for your new habits and breaking old habits.
We are often motivated by negative emotions rather than positive ones. Whether you want to get in shape or kick a bad habit like smoking or drinking, most people are motivated by shame, fear, and guilt. Many believe these emotions are good for driving behavior change, but we need to understand that real change comes from positive emotions and thinking and individual therapy sessions.
Ways and tips to change your habits
Here are a few things that might help you get rid of your habits;
1.Make a list of your habits
Listing your habits isn’t meant to make you feel bad; it’s to make you more aware of the things you want to change.
The list can seem overwhelming, especially if it grows every year. You’re not alone. We all have old and new habits that we would like to change. Instead of trying to change them all, pick one or two.
2.Identify habit triggers, actions, and rewards
After picking a problematic habit you wish to change, try this step. For example, the trigger for the drinking habit can be a feeling of stress. The action is the alcoholic drink, and the reward is temporary stress relief. The first step to changing a habit is simply identifying the triggers, actions, and rewards associated with the habit. Labeling these components can help break the cycle. It can also help us recover from unhealthy habits by focusing on their negative consequences rather than the short-term benefits.
You may bite your nails if you are nervous or anxious in a stressful situation.
Knowing what triggers your habit, you can come up with ideas to stop or change your behavior.
In the early stages of breaking an unhealthy habit, the best strategy for dealing with triggers is to avoid them. To reduce your drinking, it’s important to know your triggers. If certain people or places trigger your urge to drink, you should feel empowered to avoid them to achieve your goal.
If triggering conditions cannot be easily avoided, try to plan support so that you are ready to deal with triggers when they arise. If your triggers are internal rather than external, such as feeling lonely, bored, or anxious, there’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to feel those feelings.
If you tend to reach for the food you don’t want to eat, consider throwing it away. If the first thing you do after waking up is to check your phone, shut it down, or keep it in another room.
4.Replacing the habit
Knowing the habit and its causes is not enough to make it go away.
Studies have found that replacing a habit with an alternative behavior is a great way to change or break a habit. Instead of reaching for a cigarette when stressed, try stress management techniques like walking or meditation to reduce stress.
When anxiety sets in again, some deep breathing exercises can help lift your spirits. Try not to use things that look like old behavior instead of new behavior.
5.Cut yourself some slack
It is ok to fail and fall prey to your old habits. Allow yourself some mistakes, and don’t let failure bring your spirits down. Keep track of your progress and stay on track.
Every one of us wants to change some of our habits. However, it is not an easy task to change your bad habits. Studies show that a systematic approach like the one we shared in this article is your best shot at eliminating bad habits. Contact us to learn more!