By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
REGION – Habits are challenging to break. They occur once a pattern has been established and repeated over time. Changing them requires some effort and conscious decisions in order to break the habit and replace it with something more desirable. People vow to develop healthier habits, like cleaner eating, stopping smoking, getting more exercise, less clutter, less time spent on electronic devices, and more.
There are ways to break bad habits for a healthier future but like anything else, this can sometimes be hard. Simply acknowledging that you have a bad habit that needs to be broken is a start. Then, you can start to create a plan to change that habit and replace it with something healthier for you.
Regardless of the habit that you are trying to rid yourself of, the first step is clear. You must acknowledge that this habit is not serving you well and decide you want to change or eliminate it.
Understanding why you engage in this habit can also play a part in helping to undo it. Sometimes imagery can also be productive. What will it look like to replace a bad habit with one that results in a healthier habit? This can be done with food, technology, clutter, spending and more.
Have a plan
Writing down your goals as a plan can help you get the results you are hoping to achieve. You can even share these goals with those you interact with, and they can help to play a pivotal role in helping you achieve your success. Since habits take a long time to establish themselves, be patient and understand that breaking any habit takes some time. We are all human and it is likely that this reprogramming will take effort and time. There might also be instances where you fall back, temporarily, until the new habit is fully established. That is okay. Simply acknowledge that progress that has been made so far and then continue to move forward.
It is also perfectly okay to ask for help. Sometimes enlisting the help of a coworker, friend, spouse, family member or even caregiver can make the difference with the change that you would like to see happen.
“For me, in real estate, you have to be accessible all of the time,” said Claire Shomphe of Housatonic Real Estate. “Looking at using my iPhone as work vs. social is challenging. I am working with a therapist to help with this issue.”
“I am making changes like consciously putting my phone away thirty minutes prior to going to sleep,” she added. “I have also removed certain apps on my phone that are mindless games. This is something that not a lot of people talk about because social media is everywhere and it’s hard to get away from.”
Know the limits of going it alone
There are habits that can severely affect your health, like smoking, and even be life-threatening, such as drug and alcohol abuse. Life-threatening habits often need professional support to help to overcome them and trying to do it on your own may be dangerous as well.
James Clear, in his New York Times bestselling book “Atomic Habits” talks about the four stages of habit―cue, craving, response and reward. He explains that your brain runs through those steps every time you engage in a habit. Being aware of them can help you begin to break the pattern.
As the old saying goes, “Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.”