So how do you kick your habit and find your power?
If you could break one habit that you wish you didn’t do, what might it be?
It’s easy to get swept along with a repeated pattern of thought or action – it’s just what you do, right? When you tell yourself this, the habit seems ingrained within you and you feel powerless to overcome it.
First, you need to understand why the habit is there. Why do you do it? Then, think about what you do that keeps that habit going – how do you feed it? Once you create awareness around why and how the habit is there, then you can start to take some action to get conscious control of it.
Why do you own this habit?
All behaviour begins because there is a perceived benefit to you in some way. It may well be that the benefit is no longer relevant in your life now, but there may be certain aspects that still serve you today.
How do you keep the habit going?
The idea that you are powerless to make a change fuels the habit and makes it harder to break. If you tell yourself you really shouldn’t but you can’t help it, or that you do it without realising, again you are making yourself weaker by comparison. Of course, you have to really want something, in particular, to be different and better, for you to feel motivated to want to get rid of the unhelpful habit.
How can you get conscious control and break free?
So now you’ve identified what you do, and you’ve been honest enough with yourself to understand and accept how you keep it going. If you truly desire to get rid for your sake, first and foremost, then this is what you need to do…
You need to develop a strategy to change the pattern of the habit and replace the habit with more beneficial thoughts and actions.
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Here are some pragmatic ways to get conscious control
- Memory joggers and ‘post-its’ to remind you of the detrimental effects of the habit, instructions to do something else, and affirmations for what you want instead. For example, if someone wants to lose weight a note on the fridge asking “Will this help me reach my goal?” or “Do I really need this food right now?” or “Go and get busy” will pull you up, right when you need it.
- Physical reminders can be useful too. Such as gadgets that sound an alarm when you do something, or ‘stop and grow’ varnish on your nails when you go to bite them.
- Getting a friend or your partner to draw your attention to a habit, can be irritating enough to get you to change your behaviour.
- Giving yourself permission ‘to let the habit go’ is a much more effective way to kick a habit than simply telling yourself to stop it. So try a kinder and more empathetic approach with yourself, and be positive.
Harnessing the power of your unconscious control
Ingrained habits become part of your automatic functioning and are therefore ruled by your subconscious mind. Taking steps to reduce your stress with good relaxation techniques can be very helpful. I have experienced endless times with my clients how a bad habit is simply a deeply buried means to try to combat stress and anxiety.
Hypnotherapy can help in changing the messages and internal dialogue that feeds the habit. Suggestion therapies and Aversion therapies can be very effective to deter old habits and instil healthier ideas. Dynamic therapy using animations, characters, and sounds can be a fun and interesting way to overcome a bad habit and create a better one.
Above all else, take responsibility for the habit and decide that you want to make a change for the better. You will find it easier to take the right action and kick the habit for good!
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With love and light
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Anxiety Expert – Anxiety Help Bournemouth & Christchurch, UK
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