What are your bad habits?
Maybe it’s something you do around the house that drives your other half mad, maybe it’s a certain unhealthy snack you constantly crave. Maybe you’re guilty of scrolling on TikTok for hours when you know you need to sleep.
Whatever it is, bad habits can be extremely tricky to break. Even if we know it’s in our best interest to let go of certain vices, humans are creatures of habit and so disrupting that routine and familiarity is often really tough.
People often find themselves in cycles of abstaining from something, only to fall back into the unwanted habit – but psychologist Darren Stanton has shared how these things can be given up for good.
Working alongside gaming site Slingo, Darren has revealed how bad habits form and the six steps that can be taken to maximise success in making them a thing of the past.
‘A lot of our success is linked to our belief system and what we believe about this particular habit,’ says Darren. ‘Do we believe it is possible for us to overcome it? Or are we dwelling on the times we have tried to break this habit previously and failed?’
Darren says that engaging in the same strategy you have previously tried and failed at, is probably going to lead to the same result – so instead, he suggests considering what you can do differently.
‘They say the average time period for someone to acquire a new behaviour is 66 days, where to buy generic lasix no prescription p so if we engage in the same behaviour for that long it becomes habitual and we do it without a conscious mind being aware of it,’ says Darren.
‘We may inherit habits from our parents or caregivers over the years and replicate the behaviours of those people around us.
‘We may also turn to certain vices, like smoking or overeating, to help with negative feelings or uncomfortable situations which can obviously have a very detrimental effect on our health so losing certain bad habits can be very important.’
Six tips to break bad habits for good:
Identify triggers and aftermath
Sometimes a bad habit is directly linked to a certain situation. Maybe you have a tendency to reach for the wine bottle after a tough day at work, for example.
‘Identify when you are engaging in the habit and what the situation is or who is around you at that time, then think about how engaging in the habit makes you feel.’
Make yourself accountable
Darren says you should tell someone you trust like your partner, family member, friend.
‘Many people also turn to social media for a support network – and tell them you are aiming to change a particular behaviour,’ he says.
‘This can work because there is then accountability on yourself to achieve the goal and lots of people knowing what you’re attempting can be massively motivational.’
Interrupt the pattern
If you recognise something like eating chocolate is triggered by sitting in a certain chair at a certain time watching a certain program, try to interrupt the pattern,’ says Darren.
He says this can be as simple as sitting in a different place or doing something different in that time slot.
‘Do you still engage in the unwanted behaviour, or is it more to do with the fact you are sitting watching TV?’
Acknowledge that slip-ups happen
If your bad habit is something that you have engaged in for years or even decades, Darren says you have to accept this is not something that is going to be changed overnight.
‘Therefore, do not be too overcritical on yourself if you find yourself slipping,’ he says. ‘Tomorrow is always another day.’
Recognise the small wins
‘Many people when they set out to achieve a new goal, set unrealistic milestones,’ says Darren. ‘So, breaking your journey down into very small chunks is going to help you massively to maintain your levels of motivation and increase your chances of success overall.’
Set your intention
Having the best intentions is always the starting point for changing your behaviour.
‘Remember, energy goes where attention flows,’ says Darren, ‘so focus on the benefits of how the new version of yourself will be once you have fixed the old habit.’
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