People usually know they want to change bad habits and need to change, but they sometimes resist, even to their own detriment. Many of us are comfort-craving beings, which can lead us to some compulsive bad habits.
Despite this, we can change our habits with some planning, effort, and focus. After all, changing bad habits is worth it! Think of all the potential benefits, such as life longevity, enhanced self-esteem, and establishing a model for future behavioral changes.
Belief in one’s own effectiveness and ability to chart one’s course is the power behind just about everything we will encounter. Nevertheless, here are 7 tips for changing bad habits so you can achieve your life goals:
Discomfort is normal. Prepare for it!
It doesn’t matter if your goal is weight loss, better nutrition, fitness, or other lifestyle change. One of the best ways to change anything is to prepare to feel uncomfortable. As humans, we always want to resist discomfort. Because of this, we will sometimes wait for something to come over us that will make us change. In reality, it is an unwillingness to understand that some things are going to be hard that keeps us from overcoming our bad habits and forming new ones. How do you change bad habits? By realizing that it won’t be easy!
Make a game plan
To change a bad or start a new, good habit, include a start date in your plan. In addition, write out how you’ll change the behavior. After that, track your progress and record your challenges. In addition, you also want to watch your self-talk to make sure it’s in a positive vein.
We can easily tell ourselves that life is tough right now, so maybe it’s OK to start at another time. However, it’s important to watch your thoughts so that you don’t let yourself be talked out of the change.
Set reachable goals
People often take on more than they can handle. They decide to get on the treadmill every day. However, instead of starting slow, they run hard that first time out. Not only can this result in an injury, but it can cause them to want to stop using the treadmill at all! Therefore, rather than making one monumental effort, adopt incremental goals. As you pace yourself and take one day at a time, you set yourself up for success.
Give yourself incentives
Incentives can give you the motivation to do uncomfortable things. Therefore, create symbolic rewards, such as putting money into a jar, every day that you succeed in your new, positive behavior.
Incentives can also help you get back on track with a good habit if you are struggling. Furthermore, it makes you more likely to continue.
Keep your goals handy
People often deal with emotional battles over continuing to change their bad habits. Therefore, it can help you to carry an index card listing the benefits of a behavioral change. The good a change will do should be immediate. Then, when you’re suffering in the moment, and you need a little help, you can pull out that card. It will help you to deal with that discomfort right away. Keeping those strategies on hand helps you to maintain your goals even when facing difficult challenges.
Keep temptation at a distance
If you want to eat better, take the not-so-good foods out of the house. Similarly, if you want to quit smoking, throw out the cigarettes. This keeps temptation as far away as you can. In addition, by not purchasing these products, you create a counter-incentive. In other words, the money you would otherwise spend on these items will be available later on for something you really want.
Accept that this is a journey
Once you realize a behavioral change, it’s time to adopt a maintenance schedule. In other words, go into relapse-prevention mode. Our humanness can drag us right back. People live by habits, both good and bad. Therefore, bad habits can sometimes still creep back in and begin to take over again. Nevertheless, take heart! If you slide back into your old habits, remember that it can sometimes take more than one attempt in order to get where you want to go. However, every attempt to change is a victory. No bad habit can withstand the persistence of the human soul!
What are your tips for changing bad habits?