Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ignite the Power Within Step 3:8 Tips for Breaking a Bad Habit

Bad habits. We all have them. Don't kid yourself that your seemingly perfect friend is flawless. She has hers too. Habits are tough to break, for sure, but they can be broken.  Today we'll talk about how changing our thinking and learning to let go can help us transform our lives.

Bad habits often come from a poor self-image. Some bad habits include over-eating, getting high, drinking or shopping to excess, biting one's nails, picking one's skin, etc. The list goes on and on. The media makes such a big deal over being thin, having long luscious hair and a porcelain complexion. It is important to realize these are all just mind games to make us spend our money on their products. Being super-model thin, having extra long lashes or a peaches and cream complexion is not going to make us a better person but our society has been conditioned to place a high value on the superficial. True beauty comes from within a person, not what's on the outside. So, how to deal with pesky bad habits?

Take heart. No matter how long we have had the habit, it is possible to break it. We have probably had them for quite a while so be patient with yourself. Here are some steps I am using to break one of my bad habits.

1. Make a decision to let it go.
All change starts with a decision and a change of mind. We must decide we are no longer going to tolerate a certain behavior. We do not need or want negative things in our lives. We deserve to feel and look as beautiful and as confident as possible.

2. Bring more awareness to the habit.
 Instead of pretending it is not a problem, really focus on when you engage in the habit. Practice
 mindfulness. Be more aware of how often you do the behavior. It helps to write down when we engage in the behavior AND how we are feeling at the time. This helps bring the unconscious into the conscious.

3. Notice how you're feeling.
Emotions and stress have a lot to do with bad habits. We reach for the ice cream, the mac and cheese,  or the glass of wine when we're feeling stressed and need comforting. Feeling our feelings is vital to connecting the dots and making positive changes. When we ignore our feelings, we fall back in the same negative patterns.  

4. Substitute positive behaviors for the negative behavior. 
For example, instead of having that piece of cake or cookie, pick up a piece of fruit or go for a walk.
Sip a glass of water instead of alcohol. Stop yourself before you engage in the behavior, if at all possible.

5. Be patient with yourself. 
 Most bad habits took years to develop. Changing them isn't going to happen overnight and there will be setbacks. Forgive yoursel, understand what caused the setback, and start again. Tomorrow is a new day.

6. Develop a support system. 
Yes, I know it is embarassing to share your flaws with another person but we need support. Find someone you can trust and confide in them. Use the buddy system. Have them tell you something they want to work on and you can be the support for them and vice versa.  Don't try to go it alone.

7. Manage the stress. 
Stress makes us more prone to give in to bad habits: having that extra glass of wine, going back for seconds, chugging the beer, and heading for the bathroom mirror. When we are stressed, we have less self-control. We tell ourselves things like "I worked hard all week. I deserve this." What we deserve is to take better care of ourselves, to give to ourselves and to treat ourselves and our bodies with respect.

8. Watch the self-talk. 
Habits develop over time. We have internal dialogues that we might not even be aware of that perpetuate bad habits. For example, we might think "I ought to have perfectly thin thighs. But because I don't, I'm fat and ugly". Or "I can't put on a swimsuit because of these thighs." Men do the same thing. How many times have you seen a man with a cap on and when he takes it off, he is bald. Don't they know bald is sexy? These types of negative thinking patterns distort the truth about ourselves. We don't have to have perfectly thin or clear anything. We don't need a full head of hair to be loveable. We need to love ourselves exactly as we are while we are working on improving. In fact, self-love is crucial to making changes.

So there you have my 8 tips for breaking a bad habit. Give them a try and hang in there. You are not alone. We all have habits to break. When we make taking better care of ourselves a priority, we will see progress.

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Stay tuned for more on letting go and transforming your life into the one you dream of!

Keep looking up!