Bad habits can derail you from achieving many of your life goals. At the same time, they can pile the stress in day-to-day living. While you are often aware that they do not help you in any way, it is sometimes difficult to banish them. After all, you have cultivated them for many years.
As difficult as it may seem to break bad habits, it is certainly possible to work against them and succeed in replacing them with correct practices that you can sustain for the long term. One of the best solutions is by turning to counseling and psychological services that can help you understand the factors responsible for the negative habits you have formed.
Apart from guiding you through the process, you can expect to be provided with strategies that you can implement to keep your goal on track in spite of the presence of temptations luring you back to your old habits.To give you a better idea of how you can target these bad habits and improve your stress levels and productivity, listed below are six highly recommended strategies
Nourish Yourself First Before Starting a Task:
In the book “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength,” the author, Roy F. Baumeister, Ph.D., discusses the importance of eating first before launching into a difficult task. This is because when glucose levels are low, willpower or resolve weakens.
In addition, starting a task on an empty stomach only leads to distraction. As you start feeling your tummy clamor for food, concentrating on what you are doing immediately becomes difficult and secondary.However, once you learn to eat a full meal before doing anything that may require your strength, focus, or both, you will notice a lower inclination to give up right away.
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Always Remind Yourself of the “whys” to Avoid Procrastination:
The whys are your reasons for doing things. So when you remind yourself of these, especially when the going gets tough, proceeding with the task becomes more manageable. The whys will keep you focused on the goal.
For instance, when you are looking for shortcuts in doing an important project for work, remind yourself of the consequences of not doing the job as required, such as client dissatisfaction, getting reprimanded by your boss, and not getting the promotion you have been eyeing for a long time —none of which you would want to experience.
Anticipate Obstacles that can Block you from Moving Forward:
If roadblocks often prompt you to bail out on commitments or projects, the best way to outwork them is to prepare for them. Long before you start anything, sit down, and think about the possible issues that may arise while you are in the midst of the process. Afterward, come up with solutions.
Say, you want to lose weight, and one of the tips you are following for this goal so you can stick with it is to prepare your own food. Prepare your meals beforehand during the weekend.
This way, should work (or life in general) become too hectic in the middle of the week, and you get home late, you won’t have to resort to eating unhealthy fast food that will ruin your diet because you already have your weekly meals prepared.
Develop Self-control by Doing the Opposite of what you Usually Do:
Think of your willpower as a muscle that needs training; so, take it out of its comfort zone, which is where your bad habits reside. Anytime, you find yourself getting all worked up and anxious about things not going your way, and you feel an outburst coming, walk away and be silent.
This deviation from your supposed ‘normal’ is a fantastic way of modifying your behavior and the situation you are in. As Albert Einstein pointed out, you cannot expect different results from doing the same thing over and over again.
So, if you wish to regain control and get the results you want, try to do things differently.
Be kind to Yourself When you Falter now and then:
As mentioned earlier, breaking bad habits is not easy, even if you know your life will change for the better in doing so. Thus, it’s important to be kind to yourself, too. When you stumble and fall, do not indulge your inner critic too much and get discouraged.
Instead, think of every fall as an opportunity for a strong comeback that will bring you closer to your goals.
Set a Reward in Advance:
Changing behaviors requires positive reinforcement. So, when you succeed in avoiding the display of a negative habit, celebrate it with a reward. Remember, small victories are essential in achieving major triumphs because they can keep your eyes on the true prize.
By granting yourself little rewards along the way, it will not be too challenging to stay on course despite the pain, or the tiring effort behind the change you are making.
Break Free from the Bad:
Kicking bad habits is one of the keys in the restoration of joy and hope in your life, even in the presence of difficulties and stressors.
So, do everything you can to regain control because if you let these bad habits breed within you, they become who you are, and they will prevent you from being the person that you want and need to be.
For now, signing off until next post.
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AUTHOR BIO: Justine Corry is a clinical psychologist and enjoys helping people get to the heart of what is not working in their lives. Along with Dr. Gemma Gladstone, she is co-director of the Good Mood Clinic in Sydney and has 10 years of experience within private practice.