Did you know that shyness, stubbornness, self-sacrifice and a foolish pride are the same bad habits like smoking, alcoholism, and perfectionism? People are often experts in destroying themselves. Sometimes they do not notice it. Here are seven basic steps, which should come first when you eradicate the habits that interfere with your living.
Suppress the inner critic
The first step in getting rid of bad habits is very simple: you have to forgive yourself for your not being ideal. Our inner critic often does not allow us to act, making us feel guilty.
So, make a list of all the things that prove you are imperfect: greed, jealousy, the inability to speak well or to be friendly. All your bad habits – from picking your nose and grumbling at the dog to something that really hurts your loved ones.
Now, try to listen to the inner voice of your critic, who says you are not good at something. It may sound like this: “You will never get slim; you will die a 50-year-old virgin,” “Why don’t you finish your project?” “You will never learn anything and will not achieve success.”
Spend ten minutes, even if this is not very pleasant. You need to raise this subject. When finished, tear the list. You will feel relieved.
Prepare yourself for the long way
Remember that getting rid of bad habits is not like running 100 meters – it is a marathon.
There are many theories about how much time one needs to develop a new habit. The optimal term is three months, so be prepared for the fact that the next three months will be difficult ones.
You will have a couple of difficult days, but they will pass. And very soon you will begin to experience a pleasant feeling of pride and self-esteem because of complying with the selected mode of behavior.
There is a very good technique, which is called “Live for today.” Its essence is simple: if you want to break away from your routine, you say to yourself, “Okay, I’ll do it, but tomorrow.” The next day, repeat the same phrase in your brain. This constant delay can easily take several months, and you will have enough time to have a new good habit.
Prepare something pleasant for yourself halfway. For example, once every two weeks present yourself with a gift. It may sound like this: “If I get into these tight jeans, I’ll present myself with a new pair of cool shoes.” The brain is very motivated by this kind of promotion.
There are special triggers that activate the mechanisms of destructive behavior and bad habits. For example, if you have a problem with alcohol, it is best not to go to bars and stay away from the shelves of alcohol in a supermarket. If you’re depressed, or you make impulsive purchases, do not go to shops.
In order to weaken the influence of these triggers, you can create a protective “if” phrase pattern. The examples of protecting phrases include: “If I see a bar, I will go to the other side of the street” or “If I want to eat a donut, I’ll eat a few carrots instead.”
The brain needs to know what it should do if you are suddenly tempted by something “criminal.”
Clean the list of “facilitators”
In the fight against bad habits, you should seriously think about reducing the list of their “facilitators”.
“Facilitators” are the people who urge you to smoke during breaks, or try to prove that “one serving of alcohol has never killed anyone.” In some cases, “facilitators” are those who provoke us to behave aggressively.
For example, you decide to get rid of a bad habit, like resentment. First of all, you have decided to stop taking offence at your husband. But you have a friend, who says he is just a bastard because he did not present you with a bouquet of flowers on your birthday! In this case, she is a vivid example of a “facilitator.”
In such cases, you need to take a piece of paper and write objectively the advantages of not communicating with such “facilitators”. On the one hand, there will be your future with no bad habits, but on the other hand, there will remain one (not always pleasant) person. Get rid of him/her.
Ask for help
Frankly speaking, few people have a sufficient degree of wisdom to take the right part in getting rid of our bad habits. This is easy to check.
If you tell your relative that, for example, you are going to quit drinking alcohol, he can react in different ways. The best version of his response would be: “Well, how can I help you with this?” The worst case would be if he said: “Quit drinking? Are you crazy?!” In this case everything will go wrong, but we hope it’s not about your family.
Most likely, your relatives will react by just saying “okay”. But they need to become your allies for you to be able to ask them for help. For example, you could say you’ve decided to lose weight and ask the mother not to bake pies and pancakes any more. Or at least you could ask her to cook them in the morning. Give clear instructions to all the family members what they need to do if you suddenly give up.
Do not lose determination
We all make mistakes and fall from time to time. If this happens to you, do not reproach yourself too much. Moreover, get ready to fall because it is inevitable.
Working on yourself every day, you become better. If you stumble and give up the diet, abandon the gym or violate the practice of mindfulness, everything that you have achieved before will not be lost. All the acquired skills will remain in your brain and will help to get back on track.
Do not stop and do not give up. If you are reading these lines – you really can become the one you want to see. Believe in yourself!