Changing unhealthy habits can be super hard. If it’s a habit you’ve had for years or perhaps even a lifetime, making an adjustment could be a huge struggle. Whether you want to change your diet or stop biting your nails, it’s all in the name of being healthier. But if you want to make a permanent change, you need to change the way you think and even recondition your brain and body to stop yourself automatically engaging in unhealthy behaviours. If you want to ditch your unhealthy habits, having the right techniques is imperative. There are lots of ways you can make changes and start living a healthier life.
Understand Your Unhealthy Habits
Having an understanding of your unhealthy habits and why you have them is a good first step. Once you know why you do something, you can make a plan to stop doing it. But before that, it can also help to understand why your habit is unhealthy. You might know at a basic level that it’s not a very healthy thing to do, but learning a bit more about how it could be affecting your health can push you to give up and stick to your new changes.
To understand why you have an unhealthy habit, you should consider when you do it, how it makes you feel, and the triggers that give you the urge to do it. Some things are easy to work out. You smoke or drink lots of sugary drinks because you’re addicted, or you drive everywhere instead of ever walking because it’s convenient. But other things might take some more thought. You might be addicted to nicotine, but what things can bring on cravings? Maybe being stressed or being around other people who are smoking can make your cravings worse.
Change Your Thinking
To truly change a bad habit, it’s not just the behaviour itself that you need to alter. It’s often important to assess your thinking and make changes to that too. You should consider how you feel about your unhealthy habit and why you want to stop it. Having a positive attitude is one of the most important things if you want to make a change. If you want to stop your bad habit but you begin by thinking negatively, you’re unlikely to be able to achieve your goal. You might find that positive thinking techniques and practising mindfulness help you to approach it in the right way.
Make A Plan To Stop
A solid plan is a must if you want to give up a bad habit. Without a plan, you can struggle to find any direction and work towards your goals. First, you need to have a goal and some objectives to hit along the way. Secondly, it could be useful to set a timeline if you have a particular date in mind when you want to stop completely. Changing an unhealthy habit isn’t always something that you can just do immediately. You need to know why you’re doing it and how you’re going to do it.
Remind Yourself Of Your Reasons
Getting rid of an unhealthy habit can help to make you healthier, and perhaps this is your main reason for making a change. However, as well as this broad reason, you might have some more specific reasons for stopping your bad habit. Maybe you’re thinking about your family and being there for them. Perhaps you have some specific health or fitness goals that you want to achieve. You might have some health issues that you want to tackle by giving up your unhealthy habit. Reminding yourself of these reasons can help you to stay motivated when you’re finding it difficult.
Medications And Aids To Help You Quit
Depending on what you’re trying to stop doing, you can find that some products and quitting aids that you might find useful. Of course, there are more things for giving up some bad habits than others. For example, if you want to quit smoking, you’ll find nicotine patches, gum and even e-cigarettes. There are also medications available; Champix reduces nicotine related craving and can be useful if other aids aren’t working for you. If you’re trying to stop biting your nails, you might use a bitter-tasting nail polish to remind you not to do it. Other things could be more simple. If you’re trying not to drink so many sugary drinks, a good reusable water bottle will help you to have a healthier alternative with you at all times.
Perform A Review When You Slip Up
When you’re trying to give up a bad habit, slipping up is pretty common. But if you accidentally give in, it doesn’t mean you have to abandon your goals completely. You can get back on track and continue doing what you were doing before. However, you should also think about making some changes to see if you can prevent further mistakes. Go over what led to you slipping up to figure out whether there was a particular trigger or set of circumstances that led to your mistake. By identifying what went wrong, you can try to prevent it happening again.
It’s easy to characterise being healthy as boring. While you might have a habit that’s not very healthy, it can also be a fun habit. Maybe it’s not very good to eat a lot of cake or spend hours on the sofa every day, but unhealthy things are often enjoyable. So if you’ve decided to give up an unhealthy habit, you might be feeling a little down. You no longer get to do something that you like to do. But by rewarding yourself for “good” behaviour, you can make it worth it. That doesn’t mean replacing one bad habit with another one, though. You need a reward that you’ll enjoy but that won’t be unhealthy – or, at least, not as unhealthy as your previous habit.
Replace Your Unhealthy Habit
Do you feel like you’re at a loss when you can’t do what you usually do? If you normally go outside for a smoke on your break, you might feel like you’re sitting and twiddling your thumbs instead, making it hard to resist. Having something else to do instead could help you to resist. You can keep your hands busy or keep your mind busy to stop you reaching for something that you shouldn’t. Or you could replace a food or drink item that you want to give up. If you can’t resist an easy ready meal, make some meals in advance that you can quickly heat up when you need them.
Having the right support can make a difference if you’re trying to break an unhealthy habit. Even if it’s not a particularly serious habit, you can ask for friends and family members to help you out. They could do things like not tempting you with something that you’re craving or even just listening if you want to moan about how difficult it is to give up your unhealthy habit. It’s not always easy to find people who will support you when you’re trying to make a change, but good friends should be willing to help you out. Sometimes, you might have to try to avoid spending too much time with some people if they don’t make it easy to stick to your convictions.
If you want to give up an unhealthy habit, there are lots of different techniques that you can turn to. You have to find what works for you.