As a hypnotherapist, I understand how difficult it can be to let go of addictive habits, whether it’s alcohol, drugs, or overeating. The choices you make can shape your future and who we become, and making intelligent choices requires more than just good judgment or common sense. It requires a thoughtful approach and the ability to recognise common decision-making traps that can lead you astray.
Here are 3 common traps to avoid when you have reached a point in your life where you want to stop that old habit
1. The Anchoring Trap
This trap occurs when we rely too heavily on the first piece of information we receive when deciding. This can limit our options and prevent us from exploring alternative perspectives. To avoid this trap, challenge your initial assumptions and try to see things from different perspectives. Keep an open mind and be willing to consider alternative options. Don’t limit yourself to the first idea that comes to mind. Be sceptical of claims that something is “normal” or “typical.” Conduct your research and gather information before making a decision.
This trap can keep you tied to your negative habits as you have old beliefs around for example alcohol as being a normal part of life. Alcohol is a toxin and is anything but normal, but because our parents drank and our friends drink then it must be ok.
How to avoid the Anchoring trap:
- Look for alternative perspectives: Challenge your initial assumptions, those that were installed in your mind as a child and try to see things from different perspectives.
- Be open-minded: Keep an open mind and be willing to consider alternative options. Don’t limit yourself to the first idea that comes to mind. Look around for alternative opinions that are more beneficial to your health and long-term happiness.
- Be careful of “normal” claims: Be sceptical of claims that something is “normal” or “typical.” Just because something is common does not mean it is the best option. Just because 80% of adults in the western world drink alcohol does not make it safe or healthy. Just because all you friends are using drugs does not mean they are a good thing to have in your life.
- Gather information: Conduct your own research and gather information before making a decision. This can help you to form a more well-rounded perspective. If you want to find out more then Youtube is a great place to start. Find out why alcohol, drugs and sugar are making you ill and make you decision to quit based on an updated version of what is and what is not good for our long term health and happiness.
2. The Status Quo Trap
This trap occurs when you make decisions based on what is currently happening in your life or what has happened in the past. You may not even be aware that you are falling into this trap, but it can prevent you from taking necessary risks or pursuing your goals. To avoid this trap, be clear about what you want to achieve before deciding. Identify all possible options and evaluate the pros and cons of each. Consider the ways in which the status quo is serving you, and whether or not it is preventing you from achieving your goals. Instead of trying to change everything at once, focus on making small changes that can help you to move away from the status quo. Stay motivated by reminding yourself of your goals and the benefits of making changes.
Avoid saying “everyone else” as reason not to change. This might have worked as a school child but it’s time to make better arguments.
“Every one else is doing it”.
“Everyone else is drinking alcohol so it must be ok”.
To avoid this trap, take the time to reflect on your goals and aspirations before deciding.
Consider how the status quo is serving you and be willing to take changes one at a time. Don’t give in to pressure to conform just because everyone else is doing it. Create your own life, your own reality and live a life that makes you happy. Do what you do for you, because it is the right thing for you.
How to avoid the Status Quo Trap
- Define your goals: Be clear about what you want to achieve before deciding. This can help you avoid being influenced by the status quo.
- Consider your options: Identify all possible options and evaluate the pros and cons of each. This can help you to see beyond the status quo and consider alternative options.
- Ask yourself how you are served by the status quo: Consider the ways in which the status quo is serving you, and whether or not it is preventing you from achieving your goals.
- Take your changes one at a time: Instead of trying to change everything at once, focus on making small changes that can help you to move away from the status quo.
- Stay motivated: It can be difficult to make changes, especially when they go against the status quo. Stay motivated by reminding yourself of your goals and the benefits of making changes.
3. The Justify Past Actions Trap
This trap occurs when you rely on past actions to justify your current decisions. This can be harmful when you are trying to make changes in your life. To avoid this trap, focus on the present moment and the future rather than dwelling on past mistakes or actions. Seek advice from people who are supportive of your goals and who have your best interests in mind. Avoid negative self-talk and focus on positive thinking. Embrace the fact that mistakes will happen and celebrate them as opportunities for growth and learning.
How to avoid the Justify Past Actions Trap
- Don’t take advice from people who are still involved in your old behaviour: Seek advice from people who are supportive of your goals and who have your best interests in mind.
- Don’t cultivate failure-fearing thoughts: Avoid negative self-talk and focus on positive thinking. Remember that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process and that you can learn from them and move forward.
- Believe that mistakes will happen: Embrace the fact that mistakes will happen and that they are opportunities for growth and learning.
- Self-correct and move on: When you make a mistake, don’t dwell on it. Instead, correct the mistake and move on. Focus on the actions you can take to move forward rather than the actions you’ve already taken in the past.
When it comes to ditching those old habits that no longer make your life better you need to start by making intelligent choices and this requires a thoughtful approach and the ability to recognise common decision-making traps. By avoiding these traps, you can make decisions that are more aligned with your goals and aspirations.
So, the next time you are ready to give up your unwanted habits whether it is over-eating, eating the wrong foods, alcohol or drugs then take the time to reflect on your options, be open-minded, and cultivate a growth mindset. Remember that mistakes will happen, but it’s how you respond to them that ultimately determines your success.
Mistakes that you make in life are not failures they are just part of the learning process. We all stumble and fall when we try to learn new things but we get back up, dust ourselves off and take the lessons from what we did wrong. It is just like a toddler learning to walk, when they fall down, they never stay down, they try and try and try again until the achieve the goal they set our to achieve.
Remember, letting go of addictive habits is a journey, and it takes time and effort to make the necessary changes. But with the right mindset and a thoughtful approach to decision-making, you can take back control of your life and create a future that makes you happy. As a hypnotherapist, I am here to support you on this journey and help you to make intelligent choices that will lead to a healthier and happier life.