Those annoyingly unhealthy habits can be difficult to break, especially when they have become ingrained in your busy daily routine. They may have taken many years to become a habit and the longer you have been doing something the harder it will be to break. Unwanted Habits are formed in your mysterious unconscious mind and for the most part you act out your habit with little or no input from your conscious and intelligent mind. It is only when you decide that you need to change, that you need to stop doing the things that are hurting you instead of healing and you try to change your habits then you realise just wanting the bad and unhelpful things you are doing to go away isn’t working, that just wanting your life to be different is not going to be enough.
If you have tried and failed to stop an unhealthy habit you will know how difficult it can be, but it can be done, many people successfully give up addictions and go on to live their life free of past habits that were holding them back. An addiction is like having an anchor tied to your back, you can never live your life to the full when you keep getting dragged back into your addiction.
When trying to change your bad habit it is important that you stop giving up your power to you unconscious mind. Yes, the unconscious mind is great at keeping you alive, making sure you keep breathing and ensuring you get all the necessary nourishment you need from any food you eat. Let it concentrate on all the mechanics of the human body, but when it comes to habit change, it is time to take back control It is time put the conscious mind in charge and to stop feeling that you have no power to make the changes you want.
Giving up an unhealthy addiction is hard, no-one will ever tell you it’s easy, but it is worth it. With the proper approach, it’s possible to successfully change your unhelpful habits and form new. positive habits that will finally allow you to live the life you want easily and naturally free from the anchor that was holding you back..
Here’s how to break down a habit and make lasting changes:
- Start believing that you can change: (or stop believing you can’t): Yes it’s hard, yes it is going to take time but the sooner you get started the sooner those cravings will start to fade until they finally disappear completely. One day you will wake up and wonder why you ever did that old habit. Stop believing that your unconscious mind has all the power in your addiction. Yes, it is the one keeping you trapped but only because you keep repeating the pattern. When you use your conscious mind where your willpower resides then you will create new neural pathways in the brain. Instead of coming home and opening a bottle of wine you will come home and go for a walk, take a long bath, meditate …. The choice is yours and the choice comes from your intelligent, conscious mind, and every time you repeat your new habit then you let your unconscious mind know to create a neural pathway that directs it to your new habit when you come home from work. This is all within your power and isn’t that nice to know.
- Identify the trigger: You need to identify what triggers the behaviour. This could be something external, like seeing a certain person or being in a particular location, or it could be internal, like feeling stressed or hungry. Once you know what the trigger is, you can start to develop strategies for managing it. A trigger is really important because it sends a message to the unconscious mind that this is where you act out your habit. If you can act before the trigger arrives then there is no signal and without the signal there is not need for that old unhealthy habit. It is your unconscious mind that decides when you the trigger fires off you do X instead of Y and every time you do X then you reinforce the change in behaviour and create a new healthy lifelong habit. If we let go of the old then we have room for the new.
- Become Aware of your behaviour: take a closer look at the behaviour itself. What are you doing, and why are you doing it? Understanding the purpose behind the behaviour can help you find alternative ways to achieve the same goal. Understanding why you are doing the things your do, instead of just accepting that you can’t change is the first step to breaking free from any addiction. What is this habit doing for me? Ask yourself the question and identity the feeling you are looking for. Once you understand the feeling you can then find something else that will make you feel the same way but without the negative side effects. Every unhealthy habit has a reward, for example feeling more relaxed or contented or it makes socialising easier. Identifying the reward can help you understand why you’re engaging in the behaviour in the first place, and it can also help you come up with alternative ways to get that reward.
- Create a new habit sequence: Once you understand the trigger, behaviour, and reward of your current habit, you can start to create a new healthy life enhancing habit sequence. This might involve finding a new trigger like going for a walk instead of drinking alcohol when you’re feeling stressed, developing a new behaviour like meditating instead of eating when you’re feeling anxious, or finding a new reward (like taking a hot bath instead of shopping when you’re feeling down.
- Practice and repeat: The key to success when it comes to habit change is practice and repetition. All habits are built on repetition, and it can take time to develop new habits, so be patient with yourself and keep working at it. The more you repeat the new habit sequence, the more it will become ingrained in your daily routine. This is where the inner strength of your conscious mind comes in, use your willpower to start your knew habit and keep up the repetitions until your unconscious mind takes over and it will become part of your daily routing without having to think about it.
By breaking down a habit into its component parts and creating a new habit sequence, you can effectively change your behaviour and develop new, more positive habits. It may take time and effort, but with dedication and persistence, it’s possible to make lasting changes and improve your overall well-being. Always remember that you are in charge. The more you practice and repeat the stronger your will power will become until you new habit become something that is easily and naturally part of your new life, and you automatically do X instead of doing Y.
How to create those new healthy habits
When it comes to changing habits, it’s important to take small steps and not try to tackle everything at once. This can help you feel more successful and motivated as you work towards your goals. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when trying to change your habits:
- Make a plan: Having a clear and precise plan can help you to stay on track and keep focused on your goals. This might involve setting specific, achievable targets for yourself, or creating a schedule to help you stay organised.
- Be positive: It’s important that you approach habit change with a positive attitude. You are creating a whole new life for today, tomorrow and the rest of your life so don’t get discouraged if you have setbacks or if it takes longer than you had hoped to install your habits. It’s important to be patient and give yourself credit for each step that progresses you forward. It’s okay if it takes longer than you had hoped to develop new habits – the important thing is to keep working at it. Congratulate yourself for every small victory along the way.
- Persevere: Changing habits isn’t easy, and you may face challenges or setbacks along the way. But don’t give up! Remember why you’re trying to change your habits in the first place and stay motivated and focused on your goals. With persistence, you can successfully change your old bad habits into healthy habits and improve your overall well-being.
While the unconscious mind is powerful, the conscious mind can be even stronger. This is because the conscious mind has the ability to influence the unconscious mind and change automatic thoughts and behaviours. By becoming aware of your unconscious processes and intentionally changing your thoughts and behaviours, you can exert a greater degree of control over your lives. Isn’t it time you took back control?