Haven’t we all tried to break a habit and failed miserably? And yet again, once in a while we think how to break a habit and to re-build all that strength, encapsulate all that motivation…only to give up yet again.
Here’s a silver lining though, if you are reading this article, you have already started to channelize your rekindled energy, and are on the right track to become more aware and conscious of your lifestyle. A great start IOHO.
See, before we get into defeating that how to break a habit of ours, it’s important to understand that we aren’t failures, but just a manifestation of how usually humans behave. It’s often believed that our brain runs in two modes; automatic and emergency shutdown.
Every time you wake up to get a glass of water in your sleep and have the entire house map drawn in your head with your eyes deep shut…yeah that’s automatic mode.
On the other hand, whenever you find yourself doing something unusual like breaking a habit or deviating from the ordinary, one usually panics…overthinks…or gets cold feet. Yes, that’s the emergency shut down mode. Ergo, it’s critical to understand that putting an end to old habit that has been going on for long might take some time and a substantial amount of patience….but eventually a keep-at-it attitude helps in enriching and infusing the automatic mode with a new habit! (Breaking a habit, is making a new habit too, ain’t it?).
So yes, choosing healthier food habit options over that pizza or waking up early to be part of “5 am club” will be difficult initially, because you aren’t used to it or deep down you are still debating on it…but you need to keep kicking-in that motivation and self-belief.
We need to remember that new habit aren’t easy to come by – According to Phillippa Lally; a health psychology researcher at University College London, it takes an approximate of 66 days* for a habit to completely form and about 254 days (YES!) for it to become a part of your lifestyle!
Some Pro-Tips that have stood the test of time:
1. Trackers: It’s imperative to keep trackers in your head, such as discussing about the changes you are planning to bring in; with your friends or co-workers. This helps you stay accountable and ensures that whenever you slip, your close ones are around to catch you or at least remind you why you chose to break that habit in the first place. (Yes, this applies all those toxic relationships too). Leave motivational notes and positive reminders on your refrigerator, your phone or laptop wallpapers, etc.
2. Patience: Always keep this in mind, you don’t have be too harsh on yourself, because its start of the “new-you” and end to things that you were habitual off. Stay away from making this process a pressure vessel situation. Positive reinforcements like ‘One day at a time’ or ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ are always at our disposal (not to be confused with excuse making though…LOL).
3. Introspection: Sit down with yourself once in a while, make yourself a nice cup of chai or coffee and think about those times that made you give in the bad habit. Think about the many benefits of quitting the habit. Maybe replace your bad habit with a good one (Trying to quit smoking? Drink lukewarm water whenever you want to light up that cigarette).
4. Small Wins: Make small goals and stick to them, even if every cell of your body fights against it – remember you are sculpting yourself and there will be cracks in the system…but find ways to circumvent the urge. When you start doing something bit by bit, when you start achieving those small goals, you start seeing results or at least you start feeling the way you wished for….and then the feeling of awesomeness is just around the corner.
When someone compliments your nails and you are reminded of all the times you had to stop nail biting in stressful situations – everything seems worth it. That’s how you keep yourself in check and keep growing.
Lastly, stick to the change that you wish to bring and think of this whenever the going gets difficult- “The secret to permanently breaking any bad habit is to love something greater than the habit.” ―Bryant McGill.
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