There are two truths to bad habits: 1. Everyone has as least one 2. They are hard to break.
Even though bad habits plague everyone, very few people understand how bad habits affect their life. They keep you from living your life to the fullest. They are preventing you from achieving those goals you have set for yourself. Bad habits jeopardize your good health, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Bad habits are a waste of your time and energy.
Why do you still have those bad habits? Perhaps that’s not the most important question to answer right now. Instead, you need to ask yourself this -- is there anything you can do to change?
Before you think about kicking those bad habits in order to change for life, it is crucial to understand how you got them in the first place. Understanding the cause of those bad habits will help you get rid of them for good. Changing for the better does not come easy. But understanding what caused those bad habits to be a part of who you are will surely help you be better.
Two primary things cause bad habits -- stress and boredom.
Most of the time, people engage in habits that are not good for their health because of stress, if not boredom. For example, the practice of biting one’s nail or overspending when you don’t have the money or drinking your life away on weekends could be caused either by stress or boredom.
However, your process of dealing with either of these things doesn’t always have to result in bad habits. You can teach yourself how to get rid of bad habits and turn to more positive, productive activities.
Of course, stress and boredom may only be on the surface. Deep inside, they may be caused by something more. All these issues can be daunting to think about, but if you really want to turn your life around and change for the better, then you have to be honest with yourself. Face your fears, no matter how terrible they may be.
Recognizing the reason why you are turning to these bad habits is crucial in overcoming them.
Most people think they could eliminate their bad habits, but in truth, the bad things that you have become accustomed to doing will always be a part of who you are. All the habits that you have right now -- the good and the bad ones -- are all in your life because they serve a purpose.
There is a reason why you do what you do, and no other person can help you deal with it but yourself. The presence of others in your life -- friends and family -- may help by providing you comfort, but only you can truly lift yourself up.
At some point, the things that you do provide you with benefits, even if these “benefits” are bad for you in the long run. Some habits can comfort you emotionally. Others provide you with physical and mental ease. For example, drinking to excess may help you feel calm after a stressful day, but give you a terrible hangover the next day.
If you want to know how to stop a bad habit permanently, then you have to understand that doing it is hurting you more than it is helping you.
For example, the first thing that you do when you turn on your computer is to check your email. You do it because you feel like you can connect with the world. It helps you feel like you are communicating with people in a way that you truly understand.
However, checking your mail and going through all of them at the beginning of the day also takes your focus from the more important things. It affects your overall productivity. It divides your attention. At the end of the day, when you are not able to accomplish your tasks, and you feel bad about being unproductive. You begin to dislike yourself, and the feeling overwhelms you.
Because like any other bad habit, this habit of checking the messages at the beginning of the day can be tough to kick out of your life. No matter how disruptive it may be, you simply cannot resist it. You tell yourself you won’t check for messages, but you end up checking them more often than you used to.
So, instead of thinking of kicking the habit for good, tell yourself that it is time to replace it with a new one. When you refocus yourself into doing something else, you will end up not doing the bad habit like you used to.
For example, when you are under a lot of pressure at home or in the office, you end up smoking cigarettes. You have told yourself time and again that smoking is a bad habit, but it’s so hard to quit it. But this is not the end game for you. You can deal with stress differently. You can choose to eat the pressure away instead. Perhaps you can indulge yourself in something healthy.
Simply put, the bad habits that you have in your life are there because they make you feel something no other thing can. They address a certain aspect of your life, and the thought of it eases you.
Because of that, you should replace those bad habits with new, healthier ones to address the same need. Don’t expect yourself to simply cut out the pattern without something that would take their place in your life. Doing so will mean one thing -- you have needs in your life that will be left unmet.
For sure, it would be hard to stick to a routine if you don’t have something to replace the bad habit.
So instead of beating yourself up for a mistake that you can very well deal with, make a plan for it. Think about how you can deal with the stress and the boredom without engaging in a habit that is bad for you.
What separates you from everyone else is the handful of things that you can do for yourself that nobody else can. Allow yourself to bounce back and become the better version of who you are.
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