Do you have a desire for changing a bad habit? Do you even recognize that you have one? There are many unhealthy habits available to develop out there. Sure, it might be that you’re grateful for always keeping a tepid relationship to drinking or the intake of substances, and you have kept a healthy relationship with food all of your life. But who’s to say that gambling couldn’t bite you when going through a rough patch of your life, or perhaps something worse?
The hardest things about developing a difficult habit or even addiction is that it’s hard to tell when it goes from being a passion or fading interest to that of a regular need. Anything can become this. Some can even become habitually focused towards exercise or working towards their careers.
It’s possible for the human mind to make the best of anything, but also to turn something once good into something necessary and craved. This can be difficult when it comes to items that you may never be fully free from close exposure. No one with an eating disorder is simply allowed to ‘quit cold turkey,’ nor those needing sex therapy abstain forever from this very natural desire.
Realizing you have might an unhealthy habit is the first, foundational step. Here’s how:
Friends Have Mentioned It
If your friends or family members have mentioned that you seem to have an obsession or regular behavioral pattern surrounding an issue, it could be that you’re not showing yourself something important. It might be something innocent, not a direct accusation. A friend might say that you always seem to suggest the bar whenever you consider a place to hang out, or perhaps that you seem to spend a lot of time in the casino. Changing a bad habit may be the furthest thing from your mind.
These kinds of words show an introductory concern that can grow the further you indulge in this. It shows they have noticed your preference. It’s easy to downplay this, but really it might be that you are deluding yourself. Use this as a potential market to reflect on your behavior further.
It Affects Your Life
If your boyfriend or girlfriend find your proclivities in how you are to express your love for one another somewhat repetitive and tiring, or you find it hard to wake up in the morning to attend work on time due to the alcohol consumed throughout the week, it might be that your life is being affected by the issue you feel isn’t important. Changing a bad habit is not on your radar.
A marker on your life, especially one not planned for shows that your indulgences are starting to creep into the usual flow of your life, and if you’re not careful they could take over them completely.
You Isolate Yourself
As mentioned before, it might be that when a friend tells you they have noticed your behavior, you feel inclined to keep it more secretive than before. If you find yourself heading to other bars so that the one bartender doesn’t see you every night, or you cannot talk to your friends and family about what you do at night, it could be you’re not living as authentically as you could be. These issues combined could both be troubling if you’re not careful.
With these tips, you’re on your way to realizing you have an unhealthy habit, and that’s good. From there, you can turn your life around if you believe in yourself. Changing a bad habit can be done, if you know the secret.
The Secret to Changing a Bad Habit
Notice that we said “change” the habit and not stop it. That is because you don’t eliminate a bad habit, you need to replace it with one that will provide you a similar benefit. You see, whether you see it or not, bad habits address certain needs in your life. If you expect yourself to just quit the bad habit cold turkey and you don’t substitute it, it’s going to be hard to just use will power for very long.
We usually think of a habit we’d like to change only in negative terms, as the thing we want to stop doing. We say, “I won’t eat fast food anymore” or “I am going to stop checking my social media every hour.” That seems good, but when the urge to binge on french fries or check Instagram strikes, what are you going to do?
The answer is to make list in advance of all the alternative replacements you can do. Perhaps you can keep healthy snacks and prepared meals in your fridge so the you don’t stop for that burger. Maybe you pet you cat or mediate or heck even clean your closet instead of checking your social media.
To make this work even better, it is good to create barriers to your desired bad habits. For example, don’t keep junk food in the house, don’t drive by the fast food restaurants, disable Uber Eats. To prevent checking your social media, leave your phone in another room or reward yourself each hour you don’t check it with something you enjoy.
Once you find your new routine with your new and improved habit, make an effort to do it each time you are craving the old habit. Since this new habit will fulfill your brain’s craving, the more you do it, the easier it will be for it become second nature.
The more you learn about why you have habits and get the tools to change them, the more successful you will be.