In life it’s important to remember that nobody is perfect! Over time we’re all guilty of picking up the odd trait or bad habit that becomes engrained in our everyday life, whether that’s a regular morning caffeinated drink or falling into a routine of going to bed late and waking up tired.
How do bad habits start?
If you want to be successful in tackling your bad habits, getting to the root of the matter is the best way to go. Two of the most common factors behind picking up a negative routine are stress and boredom. If we’re stressed we will look for something to relieve us from the pressure on our minds; if this comes in the form of an unhealthy sugary snack or biting your nails then we’ll gradually train our minds to want this every time a stressful situation arises.
Likewise, when boredom strikes it can be all too easy to procrastinate on the internet instead of doing something much more productive like finally getting around to practising your guitar playing or sorting out the laundry!
Create a clear goal
Once you’ve acknowledged and understood your bad habit it’s time to decide what you want to do about it by creating a goal. Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and maybe even go as far as to give yourself a timeframe to aim for.
Visualising your progress and success can be helpful when trying to reach your goals as it frames what seems difficult in a normal, everyday setting. This can take off some of the pressure and make your changes seem less daunting. This could be as simple as crossing off each day you succeed on calendar or keeping a journal where you can track your daily progress and experiences.
Change your environment
Quitting bad habits can be tough work, so at least give yourself a chance! Don’t go and move to another country, but do make little changes that can give you a fresh perspective on things. For instance, if you end up lying around in bed too long after a sleep, put the telly remote and phones out of reach so you have to get up. If you want to cut down on unhealthy snacks, substitute them for healthy ones (like Nākd Bars!)
Replace your habit
However much you may like to flick the switch on your bad habit, a better strategy is replacing it with a more positive one. If your vice is your morning coffee, you don’t have to walk straight past the café on your way to work; what’s stopping you replace it with a healthy lemon green tea instead? Humans are hardwired to fall into routines and patterns, so turn this to your advantage and before you know it you’ll have a positive and healthy habit as part of your everyday life.
Remember you’re only human!
We’re all human after all and the odd slipup will happen, but that’s ok!– If you did get a sudden snack attack or you did snooze a little bit longer it’s not a big deal, so don’t beat yourself up.
Kicking your bad habit for good is a reward in itself, but it can be a long road to get to the finish line. To keep you motivated along the way it’s important to reward yourself for your good work. Each week treat yourself a little bit, like buying those new jeans you wanted or heading out to see a movie. Remember keep your rewards sensible - for instance don’t go and splurge on fast food if that’s what you were trying to cut down on in the first place!
Stay positive and smile – you’ll get there in the end!