Habits can help to either serve you or restrict you from being the best version of yourself that you want to be. Here’s a guide to picking up better habits.
While we can make all the lists in the world of all we want to do and be if we don’t make the habits that propel us in our desired direction, we’re only cheating ourselves.
Be gentle with yourself through the process, and accept that “slip-ups” are just part of the process and 100% human. With that, here’s a guide to releasing what doesn’t serve you to make room for better alternatives.
Figure Out Your Triggers
We often fall into detrimental or unhealthy habits as a reaction to stress, like overconsumption of sugar or procrastination. We fall into the pocket of doing the thing that will make us feel good in the moment.
If you can manage your trigger, then you’re on the right track. Throw out the ashtray that reminds you to take a smoke whenever you walk past. Delete that app or turn off the app’s push-notifications that remind you of that sixty percent off every afternoon.
Pick Up A Better Alternative
This is like having a healthy rebound. If you’ve resisted the temptation to engage in the habit you want to change, if you don’t fill the space with something else, you’re likely to fall back into the pattern, if for nothing else than out of sheer boredom.
A 2008 study in Appetite found that people who suppressed their thoughts about eating chocolate were more likely to eat more chocolate. That’s because the brain is essentially hearing, “don’t eat CHOCOLATE,” when it could be better served by hearing “eat [insert alternative].”
Change The Way You Think About Habits
Energy flows where intention goes. Think of the goal instead of the things the habit you want to change. So instead of saying, “I don’t want to do [action],” think “I want to [action]” because the operative word on your mind is what you’re likely to act toward.
Remind Yourself Of Why You Want To Pick Up A New Habit
To quote Solange, “do nothing without intention.” Intrinsic motivation will propel you to keep fighting the good fight, so to speak.
Some days may feel more of a challenge to stick to your new path. For example, you’ve committed to your home workout for two weeks, and you’re not seeing results. You may feel like there’s no point, but when it comes to habits, it often slow and steady that wins the race. Remember why you started.
Having extrinsic motivation on the days that intrinsic motivation is lack can give the nudge you need. Tell a friend about your journey.
You could try to use your social media as a tool to help you too. If you’re looking to prepare healthier meals, perhaps, share your dishes on your page and watch as your feed grows with your hard work. Side note: this may be a risky suggestion if you’ve got some negative nellys in the midst.