We all have them, habits. Good ones, bad ones and ones that we don't even realize are habits! Sometimes, you don’t see how these behaviors can potentially be causing you, challenges, imbalances or flat out life problems.
Wake up to what goes on in your day!
“Healthy habits are learned in the same way as unhealthy ones – through practice”
So, what is a bad habit?
I am NOT talking about mental illnesses or addictions here. These are habits that are fully under your control and will power. Things that you are making choices for whether consciously or unconsciously. Bringing to light our behaviors sometimes can bring up old emotions or experiences that become aha moments.
Behaviors and patterns my seem to be automatic, are most often times learned. When you behave a particular way, you are still making the choice to do it. Even a seemingly no choice, or doing nothing, is a choice! What makes it “good: or 'bad” is subjective, as it’s about what is defined as healthy for your lifestyle, body and wellness.
How Do Habits Form?
Habits are merely routines that get repeated regularly, so much so that, over time, you subconsciously do them. The more you practice the behavior, the more ingrained it becomes as a habit.
Habits that are unhealthy or unproductive for you may represent behaviors you’d like to change. Minor bad habits could be nail biting or fidgeting, while major bad habits are being chronically late and eating too much. These behaviors become habits when you do them again and again, cementing the neural pathways the reinforce the routines every time you engage in them.
Identifying Your Own Habits
The first step to changing your behavior is knowing how you are acting. Spend some time carefully reflecting on the problems in your life. Consider difficulties in your health, relationships, career, and family. How are your actions (or inaction) contributing to these problems? What are things that you are doing that are making these problems worse or, at the very least, keeping you from finding a solution to them?
Write them down, every single one. Be as specific as you can. The first step is identifying them, owning them, so don’t lie to yourself or avoid them. Get the ugly truth out there. How is your behavior helping yourself and others? How is it harming you and those in your life? Write it all down.
How often do you engage in these bad habits? How is each affecting your life and your overall happiness? When do you think you started this habit? Is it something you’ve learned recently, or is this a routine you’ve had since childhood? If your habit has a cost associated with it, calculate how much this behavior costs you each year.
Which habits are costing you emotionally, physically, or financially the most? Which do you think would be most helpful to focus on first. If you are not sure which habits are the playing the most negative role in your life, get some feedback from others who know you well. Maybe your don't want to reveal to those that know you, no excuse, get with a counselor or coach if you want to flush a few deep things out. What do they see as behaviors that are not very helpful for you? Sometimes, others see things in you that you choose to ignore about yourself.
Give yourself some love. This is hard and you are still reading which means that you may have some work to do. I can tell you though, it's worth it! Identifying the bad habits are the first step. After that, you can begin to determine where you want to start your personal evolution journey.
Take the time you need to develop new routines. Pick one habit you’d like to work on first, and it should be the only thing you worry about trying to change for now. Once you’ve worked on that behavior for some time and are making strides at improvement, you can work on another area. Doing too much at once can be frustrating, so give yourself grace and keep moving forward.
Changing habits is a process of unlearning and unwinding the old ways of thinking and acting differently, with a better, more intentional approach.
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