Are bad habits & addictions preventing you from achieving your potential in life?
We are creatures of habit. According to research from Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day.
All of the habits in your life, both good and bad, serve a purpose.
In many cases, bad habits exist to keep us safe or comfortable. Hence why it is difficult to overcome them.
If you're ready to rid your life of thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that sabotage your success, read this!
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What are habits and why do they matter?
Habits are unconscious behaviors that are repeated over time. When I refer to habits I'm not just talking about actions and behaviors. I'm also referring to feelings and thoughts. As an example, you can habitually experience feelings of sadness, anger, or loneliness.
The more that you experience these feelings, the more that you allow these negative emotional states to define who you are. The same thing applies to your thoughts. Overthinking, criticizing, and judging yourself and others are habitual ways of thinking.
Keep in mind that if you feed your bad habits, you'll breathe life into those habits. Awareness is the critical step to changing any bad habit or addiction. Willpower isn't enough. You have to familiarize yourself with your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Not only that, but you have to understand why you think and behave in certain ways. We all have bad habits. I want to encourage you to take out your journal and write down 1-3 bad habits that YOU want to change. Can you identify with any of these bad habits?
- Sleeping in or staying up too late
- Binging on social media
- Watching pornography
- Binging on TV shows
- Drinking alcohol
- Smoking weed
I want to teach you some practical techniques that will help you break free from disempowering habits. First and foremost, if you want to break a habit, you must make a habit. One reason why a lot of people aren't able to make lasting changes is that they don't replace a bad habit with something new.
In effect, they trade one bad habit for another bad habit.
All habits serve a positive intention in your life, even the worst of addictions. Ideally, when you replace a bad habit, you want the new habit to fulfill a similar need that the original habit provided for you. In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg wrote, “We know that a habit cannot be eradicated. Instead, it must be replaced.”
The Habit Cycle
Part 1: Trigger
This is an instant energy shift that occurs in the body after being triggered by something or someone. Triggers are biologically hard-wired. Thus, you'll always be triggered. The good news is that you can change your relationship with your triggers. Mindfulness is a great way to become acutely aware of them.
Part 2: Thoughts
Thoughts happen fast. As a result, a lot of people are not consciously aware of their thoughts, which is why they act on impulse. The thoughts that you want to pay attention to are the negative self-deprecating ones. These are the ones that lead to bad habits.
Take one 1-minute right now and write down all of the thoughts, negative or positive, that you're thinking. Write them down in quotations as they appear. This simple exercise is a powerful way to become an observer of your thoughts. By writing them down, you will become aware of which thoughts show up continually.
Part 3: Action
This is when you take action, based on what your trigger and thought are. Most often, the action is what leads you to the behavior of whatever it is that you're indulging in. Being aware of your triggers and thoughts is what will give you the power to change your behavior.
To make any shift in your life, you must become aware of this habit cycle. You have to create space between the trigger, the thought, and the action, meaning you have to become consciously and acutely aware of what's happening.
In his book, Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl documented his experience of being imprisoned inside of the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz. He determined that, while we can't avoid suffering, we can always choose how we respond and find meaning.
Frankl once said, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space, is our power to choose our response. In our response, lies our growth and our freedom.”
Strategies To Break Bad Habits
Below I've listed some tested and proven ways to break bad habits and replace them with good ones. You can implement any or all of these into your life.
I highly recommend that you journal your thoughts daily. Journaling is a powerful way to connect with yourself on a deeper level. When you understand yourself better, you are better able to avoid triggers and make decisions that best serve your highest self.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
The opposite of a habit is mindfulness. Habits are automatic, meaning that you engage in them unconsciously. Conversely, mindfulness involves being acutely aware of your thoughts in the present moment, without judgment.
Without awareness, you can't change anything. I'm a big believer in the power of mindful meditation. When you are fully in the present moment and not reacting to the world around you, you become less attached to your thoughts.
3. Wrong Thought Right Thought Exercise
The next time that you have a negative thought, say out loud to yourself, “Wrong thought” and replace it with the right thought. By challenging your negative automatic thoughts, you'll change your internal dialogue, and in turn, your life.
4. Thank You/Goodbye Letter To Your Bad Habit
Thank your bad habit for what it provided you with, whether that was comfort, security, pleasure, or a sense of adventure. Acknowledge the positive attributes and the needs that your bad habit fulfilled.
Once you've done this, you want to remind your bad habit of all of the reasons why you are letting them go. Write the letter as if you're breaking up with your bad habit.
This is how to break bad habits & addictions.
Identifying which bad habits you are ready to break free from is the first step to overcoming them. Strive for progress, not perfection.
Making mistakes is a part of the journey that comes with breaking bad habits. Stick with the process and remember that when you change your habits, you change your life.
Are you ready to raise your standards and master every area of life? CLICK HERE to join my monthly LIVE Life Master Accelerator program!