by DONNIE LEWIS
Why is it so difficult to break our bad habits? This is especially frustrating when it comes to the habits that stand in the way of accomplishing our dreams. The best of intentions seem to be defeated on a regular basis. Life doesn’t have to work this way, however.
Nearly everyone has a behavioral demon. Whether it’s eliminating our debt, getting healthier, or to stop drinking or smoking, there’s always that one challenge we can’t seem to beat.
In many cases, the answer is quite simple, yet most people lack awareness of it: We simply don’t handle our stress and boredom in an effective and healthy manner.
Many of our bad habits are simply ways that we’ve learned to deal with being stressed or bored. It would be great if someone had taught us how to deal with these negative feelings, unfortunately, most of our parents weren’t taught either.
How many of these essentially worthless behaviors do you partake in on a regular basis?
1. Internet surfing 2. Eating junk food 3. Watching TV more than a couple of hours a week 4. Drinking 5. Biting your nails 6. Playing video games 7. Shopping when you don’t need anything 8. Procrastinating 9. Posting non-relevant items (like what you’re having for dinner) on social media sites 10. ?????????
All of the items on this list have something in common: They are easy to do, make us feel better, yet do nothing to solve the source of our stress or boredom.
Do you recognize any of your bad habits on this list? Can you see how that habit doesn’t really accomplish anything other than making you feel better temporarily?
The solution is to replace these habits with something healthier and more productive. What would your body look like if you chose to go for a run every time you were bored instead of eating junk food? What would your bank account look like if you could find something better to do than go out and buy things you don’t really need?
What if you could jump right on a project instead of procrastinating? What would your life look like then?
Try this easy plan to change your bad habits:
1. Choose one habit at a time to change. You can work on the other habits after you eliminate the first one. Tackling one at a time will greatly increase your odds for success.
2. Start small. Even turning to the new habit for just 5 minutes is progress that you can build upon. This time can be expanded each day or week. Simply try to improve gradually over time.
3. Be aware of what precedes the bad habit. If you can notice what happens immediately before you feel the urge to engage in the bad habit, you can use that trigger as a sign to start doing your new habit. Become an expert on your patterns.
4. Find a new habit that you enjoy. If you don’t like going for a walk, it won’t be very effective to try to use that as a new habit. Find something that you enjoy doing and you’ll have a much better chance. Brainstorm for as long as you need to find a suitable substitute.
Learning how to deal with stress and boredom effectively is key to becoming more successful and accomplishing your goals. Bad habits are not only a waste of time, but they also take us further from our desired destination.
Get started immediately and replace one bad habit with one better one. Getting started is always the hardest part. Find a more effective way to deal with your emotional discomfort, and the quality of your life will improve dramatically.