Everyone has a bad habit. Sometimes they make us sick, like smoking. Others make us stressed and poorer, like procrastinating. Eating potato chips is soothing but leaves chunky reminders all over our bodies. Yet it seems impossible to stop something because that makes us think about it all the time! I’ve found the best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. Adding something new and enjoyable crowds out the bad and you won’t even miss those potato chip binges.
What Benefits Do You Get from the Bad Habit?
Be honest about how the bad habit started and why. What benefit were you getting then and is the payoff still there? Maybe when you were fourteen smoking made you feel “cool” and part of the gang. But today, smokers are a minority, shelling out a fortune for cigarettes, paying more for insurance and barely “present” because they are desperately looking for a place where they can still light up. I’ve never met a smoker who didn’t want to quit but what if your candy bar habit keeps your weight and blood pressure up? The calories in a daily Snickers bar equal 25 pounds over a year. Did you ever think that tasty little bar could make you up three sizes bigger? And you can lose it all without power yoga or expensive packaged “diet” shakes and meals that leave you hungry and longing for a candy run.
Why A Bad Habit Is So Hard to Break
Willpower doesn’t work. Your brain has faultless programming to keep you doing what you’ve always done. How often do you arrive at work without any memory of the drive? Or even drive to work instead of somewhere new that you intended to go? That’s your unconscious programming at work. Your brain says, “I am a smoker” or “I always have a Snickers bar in the afternoon.” Let’s learn how to trick your brain into doing something else.
Choose a Good Habit to Replace the Bad Habit
Choose a good habit to replace your bad habit. Think you can’t fall asleep without your nightly bowl of ice cream? Don’t like the fifteen extra pounds? The ice cream gives you brief pleasure but your clothes are too tight and your doctor thinks you need blood pressure medication. What can you do instead of eating Rocky Road? Listen to music, meditate, some yoga stretches? Choose something you like as much as ice cream. Then program your new good habit with affirmations.
Affirmations will replace negative beliefs like “I can’t stop eating ice cream before bed.” Just relax, visualize yourself as 15 pounds lighter and flexible from your yoga stretches. Visualize the ice cream container marked with a big red X. Repeat to yourself, “I love yoga to relax before bed.” “Yoga relaxes me and gives me deep sleep and sweet dreams.” “I am so slim now that I do yoga before bed.” You’ll be surprised how quickly you can rewire your brain with affirmations until that bad habit is gone and forgotten. You will enjoy the good habit so much more….and have the confidence to build more good habits the way same way!