You’re still here. Good! You’ve taken the first step in identifying your bad habits by admitting you have them. They didn’t seem so bad at first. The bad habits were just insignificant and you could break them any time you want. You’ve heard about the guy who could stop smoking anytime he wanted. He’s done it many times.
Bad habits feel so good at first as you ladle more gravy on your mashed potatoes which go so well with the chicken fried steak. One little snort of a non-addictive drug won’t hurt.
Lying to your spouse was hard the first time but it got easier. Bad habits have a way of doing that – getting easier. Bad habits are a lot like drugs, they’re addictive and you find a way to rationalize them.
When you’re ready to take back control of your life and do away with your bad habits then identify them. Write them down. A bad habit could be as simple as criticizing your spouse or being impatient in the grocery line and saying words you regret. Admit you have bad habits, identify them and write them down.
Be specific. How much do you indulge in this habit and how does it affect your life, health, relationships, self-esteem? The longer you’ve been addicted to the bad habit the more difficult it may be to give it up, unless you identify all the negative effects this habit has on your life.
If the habit costs you money, determine how much it has cost you over the years and how you could have better spent that money.
The bad habit may not just hit you in the pocketbook but your physical and emotional health as well. It could be preventing you from achieving your goals and dreams for a better life. Bad habits waste money, strength and time. They eat away at your mind until you find a way to live with them rather than kick the habit.
Now, write down good habits that you want to acquire instead. This could be just the opposite of your bad habit. The bad habit could be drinking too much in front of the TV. The good habit could be to stop drinking and spend more time outside with the kids or at the health center. Give yourself a time limit when you say out with the bad and in with the good.
Put the list of good habits in a place where you see them every day. If they’re staring you in the face every day the positive constant reinforcement will begin to work wonders.
Change your routine and stay away from any thing, place or person that might tempt you. Identify if you need any support and ASK FOR IT.
You’ll maybe feel uncomfortable at first but like nourishing a bad habit the good habits will get easier too.
Commit to replacing the bad habits with good ones. Make sure you do your new good habit every day for at least 21 days. I had to replace my manual gear shift car for an automatic a few months ago. I’ve driven a manual for 30 years, so the habit was well established to change gears. When I’d had my automatic for about 3 weeks I had to drive my husband’s manual gear shift car. In the space of 3 weeks my subconscious brain had “forgotten” how to drive a manual car – something I used to do without thinking about it. Suddenly I had to think about using the clutch, changing gears.
This really drove home (pardon the pun) the message that if you repeat a behavior every day for 21 consecutive days, the new behavior will become programmed into your consciousness and become natural to you.
Remember, you can become a slave to bad habits or good. The choice is yours to make today. I often think that it’s well worth making sure you start your day well. It’s also a good way to practice establishing new and healthy habits.
Starting Your Day Off on the Right Foot
Not everyone gets out of bed in the morning easily and in a good mood. Some can bounce out of bed eagerly anticipating the day and will talk your ear off if there’s anyone to listen. Others groggily stagger out of bed reluctantly and you better not speak to them or they’ll bite your head off.
Which of these describes you? Or do you fall somewhere in between? Which would you rather be? Typically, the person who bounds out of bed wide awake is the person who gets more done in the morning and is happier to do it. This isn’t always true. Some get just as much work done; it just takes them longer to get to it.
If you’re not happy with your morning habits and want to change, it can be done but it has to be a concerted effort on your part. Many people don’t want to change. They’ve been that way for years and it works for them. On the other hand, who wants to be an old grouch in the morning making yourself and everyone else miserable?
You can become an early happy riser and make it a habit you will embrace. First, admit your current method of waking up in the morning isn’t working and you want to change.
Be willing to try a different method and realize it may not be the first different method you try that will transform you into a new you.
Creating some new habits is important. Prepare yourself for bed with the same routine if possible. Start with a healthy diet. Stay away from heavy fatty foods and sugars before bedtime. Eat dinner early. Of course, no caffeine or other stimulant before bedtime.
Try the early healthy dinner a few nights and make a note as to how you feel the next morning. Is it working? If not, don’t give up. You just need to add more and different methods to your morning madness.
Exercise daily. The better shape your body is in the better it will sleep and the better you’ll feel each morning. Morning exercise is usually more helpful than just before bedtime. Nighttime exercise can get the blood flowing too much for you to fall right to sleep.
Do something pleasant before going to bed to put you in a good mood. Read a good book for a few minutes. Don’t get so caught up in it that you can’t put it down. Don’t balance your check book or pay bills before going to bed. Money worries are one of the main causes of sleeplessness.
Anticipate the morning routine. Don’t give yourself something boring to look forward to.
Make time for at least some morning exercise even if it’s just stretching. Perhaps, sit outside and greet the sunrise with a morning juice. Count your blessings and plan your day.
Make sure you allow time to eat a healthy breakfast to give your body and mind fuel for the day ahead.
Once you’ve established a new morning habit of rising early, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that bad habits are easier to kick and good habits easier to adopt.