You must know a lot of people (including yourself!) who yielded to the temptation of self-destructive behaviors, maybe even periodically. These behaviors can be intentional or subconscious; some of them may end up pretty badly personally and/or socially. Many of them are obviously unwelcome and need to be kept under. Now, this can be done without great pain by dint of patient perseverance. Breaking out of habits has never been very easy, so some good advice is due to help you along on your way to perfection.
Delve into yourself to learn all about you
If you want to escape self-destruction, get acquainted with yourself closer. Know what your values are, what your priorities are, what you would like to introduce to your life.
Sometimes the feelings of shame or regret bring about an inner conflict, and, when looking into it, we can define our values better and understand ourselves deeper. Maybe these feelings arose because we have sinned against our intrinsic values or trespassed some basic human code of behavior. Denying our values causes shame; it may mean we aren’t aware of them well enough to tune our behavioral patterns to the right direction in which our inner desires will be recognized.
Get in touch with your principal tendencies
You should learn as much as possible about your behavioral patterns to distinguish between useful ones and harmful ones. When you discover that a pattern actually undermines your physical or mental health you tick it as self-destructive and mark it for effecting a change to get rid of them or transform them.
Agree that you are responsible
It is much easier to blame others’ doors while we have almost certainly added to the problem with our self-destructive habits. They are often hardly recognizable if generated by old childhood traumas or by a devious relationship. Still, we must gain better control of ourselves by identifying such issues, handling them, and turning them finally to our best advantage.
Focus on one particular point
When you feel you are up to altering yourself, choose one particular sphere that you can handle. Be realistic and avoid overburdening yourself. Make a pointed effort at treating yourself to a smaller cup of coffee minus sugar and a pile of whipped cream; as soon as you’ve worked yourself into the habit, see to it that you have a healthy breakfast with fruit; once it’s customary for you, make a pause before the second helping. Step by step is a sure way to gain control over your lifestyle.
Define the reasons for self-destructive behaviors
Grope for the reasons underlying your self-destructive behavioral patterns. As you keep identifying your harmful habits, look into the reasons that drove you to them. If you are given to consuming excessive amounts of hard drinks, you may do it because you want to repress your feeling of insecurity, you are suffering from stress and cannot relax, or you are chasing negative thoughts. In what way does alcohol benefit you?
List your reasons to change
Cite all your reasons for wishing to get rid of this or that habit; have them in writing and hang up where you can consult the list and make sure you are going exactly where you want to go.
To avoid resisting the changes, explain yourself the necessity not in terms of what you MUST or SHOULD do – instead, think of your reasons as of things you allow yourself to do in order to try different approaches to life’s situations.
Foresee possible consequences
How exactly can each negative behavior introduce havoc in your life? You should know that – not only how it influenced you in the past, but what it can lead to in future. Pay attention to your feelings afterwards – how do you feel? Ashamed, guilty, regretful, angry? Know exactly what it is you will be trying to avoid.
Parade your involvement
Tell everyone around about your intentions; have them know what you mean to achieve and instruct them to give you feedback. Regard yourself as an accountable person from now on, liable to accept a shameful consequence whenever you fall short of your aim. When you have people you can come down to before, it will make a big difference. Make pledges, bet money on your success – show to yourself and to others that you are committed.
Ensure friendly support
Look to your relatives and friends for encouragement and support. Some online support can also come in handy. Let such people keep an eye on you and remind you to go on with your good work.
Expect dealing with some negative self-talk
Those habitually branding themselves as stupid or inefficient commit two sins: they indulge in self-destruction and they are untruthful. Such thoughts had better be abandoned as being unhelpful and totally useless, a bad habit in themselves.
So when you catch yourself fostering a negative thought, halt and reword it, so it sounds encouraging. If you think the task is too burdensome, say to yourself that although it is so, it can be done when broken up into manageable sub-tasks.
When you feel an urge, make a pause before acting on it
When you are aware of a craving arising and conquering your consciousness, remind yourself that it may be merely a result of a compensatory dopamine deficit; some escape behaviors can repeatedly reinforce dopamine release oftener than needed and create an abnormally high dopamine level.
You don’t want to respond to it mechanically, so it will be a good practice to let some time elapse before you act. Register the strength of your wish and see whether you can bear it, telling yourself that it may expire before long and so not worth pursuing. If you decided it is worthwhile and are ready to succumb, see if you can do it with a bargain in your favor.
While you remain “on hold,” run through your reasons not to succumb. Having weighed them up, distract yourself – do a physical exercise, pick up a book, and get busy with your current task. Your wish may not survive the transition – especially if it is an irrational one.
You are not what you’ve done
Bear in mind the idea that no single event or a single deed makes you what you are. All of us are constantly evolving following the ceaseless changing in the neuroplasticity of our brain.
Grieve and move on
If you have reasons to grieve (don’t forget the time wasted), allow yourself to – but as soon as you are through, be ready to move on. Actually, you can switch yourself on to the next fruitful task any time, even while you are grieving.