The saying is “Old habits die hard”, and they CAN die! If you missed Part 1 of our Breaking Bad series, read it now. Now it’s time to get to changing those habits…here are 10 simple steps you can take to replace unhealthy habits in your life with helpful ones.
1. Identify Your Habit
You can’t expect to change something you’re not aware of!
2. Tackle One at a Time
Changing a habit takes determination, so just concentrate on one at a time to ensure that old habit is gone for good!
3. Keep a Habit Diary
Keeping a diary will help you identify your triggers. If you’re an emotional eater, tracking what you eat and drink, when, where, how much and why helps you become more aware.
When you’re aware of what you’re doing and why, you can take positive action to change the behaviours associated with it.
4. Take 5 First
Instead of acting on the craving associated with the habit, take 5 minutes to stop and ask yourself whether you really want that glass of wine, handful of chips, cigarette or chocolate bar.
If you can let those five minutes pass without acting on the craving, you’re on your way to breaking bad!
5. Find Alternative Rewards
Habits often form because the acted outcome makes you feel momentarily better. But what if you changed your reward structure for achieving goals?
Instead of drinking after a rough day at work, or smoking because you’re stressed, replace that old reward with one that is kinder to your mind and body. Take a walk, go for a swim, play with the kids, cook a healthy meal, read a good book, get an extra hour sleep …
Reward yourself with something that’s good for you!
6. Make it a Money Matter
How much are you currently spending on things like cigarettes, alcohol or junk food? Add up what that negative behaviour is costing you then, as you make the changes, use the money you’re saving to treat yourself – how does a new wardrobe or holiday sound?
7. Practise the New Habit
Remember, a habit is a behaviour that’s practiced over and over, it’s an automatic response. You need to engage in your new habit as often as possible so it becomes second nature or habitual.
8. Be accountable
Tell friends and family about your new commitments so they can help hold you to them.
Become designated driver on a night out with friends to avoid extra drinks, create a list before doing the grocery shopping, replace junk food in your drawer at work with healthy alternatives, or enlist an exercise buddy to keep you motivated.
9. Get support
If you feel overwhelmed by making these changes, talking to a GP or counsellor can help you create a plan and give you sound advice to get you started.
10. Don’t Give up
We all slip up, especially in the early days, so don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on course, stay positive and keep going!
Sign up to the next Round of 12WBT and tap into Michelle’s inspiring Mindset Videos to get you breaking bad!