It seems we all have at least one bad habit that plagues our overall health and well-being throughout the year. Maybe it is that you’re a great starter, but not a great finisher, you have anger outbursts, you’ve got trouble with binge spending, you interrupt others, you’re always late. The beginning of the New Year provides great opportunity for reflection and commitment to becoming a better version of “you.”
Here are a few steps to help you kick your bad habit.
- Define the bad habit.
Identify the bad habit. Call it what it is. Don’t sugar coat it or downplay it. Identify what the habit is, and why it needs to go.
- Determine its root.
As you consider your bad habit, think about why it’s stuck around with you for so long. Does it make you feel better? Is it compensating for something? Does it help you maintain control over a situation? Once we identify the actual “wound” we’re putting a proverbial “bandaid” over, we can begin to seek healing in that area and gain freedom from our bad habit(s).
- Think baby steps.
Most of our bad habits didn’t just arrive overnight. They became habits slowly, over time. And in the same way, the new healthy habits that will replace them will take time to grow and become established as well. Set small goals in the direction you’re progressing, and break your goals down in to palatable portions, perhaps one day or one week at a time.
- Set measurable goals (and measure them).
“I want to be better at that” is not a very good, measurable goal. Set clear goals that can actually be measured. For instance, if you’re struggling with spending sprees, perhaps the goal is to make a budget and stick to it. You will easily be able to determine if you achieved your goal, or fell short.
- Give yourself some grace.
As with most new ventures, new paths are rarely paved without some bumps. Sometimes, you may not accomplish your goals and you need to give yourself some grace and start again the next day in the direction of your dreams.
- Consider professional help if your efforts alone just are not working.
If, in your efforts to make positive changes in your life by dropping old, negative habits, you find yourself struggling to succeed, consider the regular encouragement, insight and accountability a professional therapist might be able to provide.