The good, the bad, and the ugly - they’re called habits, and whether you realize it or not, they are always a part of our daily routine. It’s like brushing your teeth in the morning or setting an alarm clock before you go to bed - there are tons of things we do every day that shape the way in which we live our lives and set ourselves up for the future.
Good habits, like remembering to floss or putting money away in a savings account every month, are the kind of habits that don’t always present themselves immediately. So, having a good dental checkup or extra money to go on that get away are the positive results of forming healthy habits. However, it’s those pesky bad habits that we tend to beat ourselves up about. If you’re having trouble breaking bad habits, here are 5 life tips you can use each time you want to start forming healthier routines to reshape your daily life.
Acknowledge the bad habit, head on! The first step in overcoming any kind of negative pattern is acknowledging that it exists. The better you can wrap your head around the fact that there is indeed a problem, the easier it will be to understand how it’s negatively impacting your daily life. For example, you may notice that you’re waking up every morning feeling exhausted. As you retrace your steps, you realize that you’ve picked up the bad habit of falling asleep on a full stomach, causing you to feel sluggish in the mornings. Easy right? Give yourself a little credit here, because you’ve just had an incredible breakthrough by identifying the hurdle. Now, let’s work to get over it, and when you follow the next tips to come, you’ll be on your way to the finish line in no time!
The reason for removing bad habits from your life starts with fully understanding why you would want to break it and perhaps why you may need to break it. Habits, like going to bed on a full stomach, not getting enough sleep, or smoking cigarettes, are all patterns that can negatively impact your daily life, and more importantly, your overall health. In addition, you may receive signals of bad habits from those closest to you. Habits like, worrying too much or obsessing over an idea can also disrupt your daily life, and more specifically, how you interact with others. Habits aren’t just the things we do, but also the things we think about. So, be sure to pay attention to any cues or triggers that activate those bad habits. For example, your emotional state could be the cue for turning on some of these bad habits. When things like sadness, boredom, anxiety, or stress get the best of us, try to think of those emotional feelings as cues in relation to the habits that follow. Understanding the bad habit requires you to step out of your comfort zone and have a full look at yourself to see how you are behaving in your daily life. Try to view yourself from the outside looking in.
When you first acknowledge the bad habit and then understand why it needs to be addressed, you will have a much easier time visualizing a different life for yourself.
In a recent article, Brian Tracy stated, “The speed of new habit pattern development is largely determined by the intensity of the emotion that accompanies the decision to begin acting in a particular way.” Due to the fact that many habits are linked to emotion, it can be just as hard to both, form new habits and break the old ones. Again:
Habits aren’t just the things we do, but also the things we think about.
So, when you’re in the middle of trying to remove bad habits, start shifting the way in which you are dealing with and thinking about those habits. Let’s say your goal is to start waking up early to exercise before going to work. Instead of dreading the idea of waking up early to work out, shift your focus to the release of endorphins you will experience and the sense of accomplishment you will feel once your morning workout is over. By changing the way you think about this new habit, you are training your mind to already know what it feels like to practice this habit as part of your daily routine. Your mind is incredibly powerful, so focusing only on the good and positive changes you see for yourself will leave no room for the bad habits you are wanting to break.
This leads to my next life hack of visualizing a life of new positive habits. If you’re able to shift your focus to the benefits of forming new rituals, you can then easily visualize your whole life full of those brand new healthy habits! When you practice visualization, you’re allowing yourself to get a head start on living the life of your dreams. Just like any habit, successfully visualizing what you want in life takes consistency. It’s as easy as seeing yourself at the gym in that early morning spin class or reading a new book instead of watching hours of television. Once you train your mind to see that your new habits have are already being executed, it will be that much easier to stick with them, because guess what?
Your mind thinks you’re already there!
When you get to a comfortable place with your new habit, don’t forget to reward yourself every step of the way. This part is key! When you work hard to set yourself up for successes, you must always reward your mind in gratitude for what’s being accomplished. By even attempting to tackle a bad habit, you have already decided to live a life full of intent, and not based on negative patterns. So, embrace the change you have created in yourself! And now that you’ve made it this far, you can take these inspirational ideas and apply them every time you are seeking to create new positive habits while trying to break old ones. Creating or breaking a habit is not easy, but with the right tools, you will become a pro at creating the routines and rituals you want for your life. You can say, out with the old and in with the new habits for the life you’ve always dreamed of!
On the topic of creating the life of your dreams, I’d like to present you with a free copy of my book, Never in Your Wildest Dreams. As you read along, you will discover ways to rise above your limiting beliefs and become a magnet to the opportunities that will shape your life. Remember, your dreams will come true when you start believing in them! Grab your copy here. Enjoy!
Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.