We are all addicts, whether it’s drinking, spending too much time in front of the computer or going to the tanning salon far too often for a ‘top up’.
We all have habits that help us cope with anxiety, or other types of stress. However, when these activities grow into an obsession that interferes with our normal lives, then it’s time to acknowledge this and start to let go. Here are some tips to help you along the way!
1. Be rational. Don’t deny that you have a ‘small’ problem. If you can’t control your love for burgers, then don’t be afraid to admit your diet is not very healthy. That’s the first step towards change. Also, try to identify why you do it. Do you eat sugary food to release pressure or because you are depressed? Ask yourself why and be honest! When you have the answer, it will be much easier to…
2. Know your danger zones. A danger zone is a specific place, event or time that triggers your bad habit. It’s like learned behaviour. Let’s say that you are used to having a cigarette with your coffee early in the morning; you’ve learned that these two pleasures go together. You don’t have to be strong and avoid them all the time. Just recognise the reality of your habits and…
3. Make changes. Old habits die hard and we usually replace an addiction with another behaviour, harmful or not. Let’s just aim for the harmless version. Okay, you know that you can’t stop scrolling down on Facebook and you won’t deny it, but you also know that your danger zone is after work when you’re tired. Now let’s change: use your hands for something else instead. Cook or tidy up. If you can’t stop shopping, then just avoid shopping places. Go to the park with friends instead. If you are a computer junkie, get rid of your computer for a while. Maybe go on a holiday and exercise. Tell friends not to eat sweets around you if you want to reduce your sugar intake. Ask friends to stop you after the first beer if you like drinking a bit too much. Try to do more yoga- the breathing techniques can clear your mind and help you change your routines. Another thing to try is to start with a simple to-do list when you organise your new and healthier day!
4. Get support. This is something very important when you’re trying to let go of bad habits. Get everyone involved in your efforts to kick your bad habits. Don’t be ashamed to admit that you’re having some trouble or to ask for help. Your family and true friends won’t encourage you to procrastinate before an exam, but they will motivate you to cope with your empathy and fears. The result is obvious: great marks at school, and more solidarity from friends! Be thankful because your efforts are theirs as well.
5. Celebrate your successes. Bad habits can be terrifying, especially when you get stuck in a vicious circle. That’s why it’s important to reward yourself for the smallest successes. So you stopped drinking? Why not celebrate by organising a sports party or a trip? Praise yourself for not taking another biscuit from that inviting box in your office because you know it’s never ‘only one more’ or ‘the last one’. Buy yourself something healthy instead to pamper your strong will. Smile more! You deserve it.
By letting go of bad habits, little by little, you’ll welcome the best kind of joy into your life: health. Good luck friends! Let us know if there’s anything that’s helped you let go of bad habits in the past, we’d love to hear about your experiences!