Where Do Our Bad Habits Come From?
Life should be pretty good. We’re smart people, who know how to find things out. We know the healthy habits that we’re supposed to have and have even set all manner of goals to create those habits in our lives. But over and over again we’ve failed, and never quite seem to figure out why.
To deal with the bad habits in our lives, we first need to understand the most basic things about them. Where they come from and what purpose they serve. Yes, even our bad habits serve a purpose, whether you realize it or not.
We form habits when we’re struggling to cope with either stress or boredom. But when we lack the proper coping strategies, we flounder and reach for something that’s going to please us at that moment. Think about it. Most bad habits come with a sweet surge that puts a rush of good feelings into our bodies. That’s why nicotine or fatty foods are so addictive; they stimulate those pleasure centers in the brain.
So how do we build better-coping skills?
Once we understand why we do what we do, what comes next should be easy. After all, you don’t ERASE bad habits – you REPLACE them. So start with the basics.
1. Plan ahead. It’s time to put better strategies in place which you can use during stressful situations. Those stressful moments can lead to your bad habits and if you have a plan worked out in advance that you can put into action at that time you’re ahead of the game.
2. Reduce triggers. Life will never be perfect, and some triggers you can’t erase (like running into your ex at the grocery store), but there’s a lot you can do with the ones you can control. Hide the remote, don’t even buy the cookies, don’t hang around with people who are going to be smoking. Do what you need to set yourself up for success – not failure.
3. Find a Buddy. Success is much more likely when you’ve got someone else who’s got similar goals. Besides, hanging out with someone else is a great way to beat boredom.
4. Watch the self-talk. The voice in our head is responsible for most of the stress in our lives. Instead, replace all those negative thoughts with positive ones.
5. Check the people you hang out with. If your friends are stressing you, maybe they’re not your friends. It might be time to build some new relationships with people who make you feel positive and more energized.
6. Visualize Success. You’ve got this! You can manage stress and boredom in healthy ways. The great news is that by learning better coping skills, you’re going to feel better in all areas of your life. You won’t just defeat the bad habits, but you’ll also be setting yourself up for success.