Habits: The Good and the Not so Good

In my last post, I talked about how having a routine can be good for you and how it isn’t good for you. I also mentioned that rituals are more meaningful and provide significant benefits to your life. When you develop a routine, you have habits that are driving you to make one. The habits can be good ones, but they can also be bad ones.

Habits are behaviors that we repeatedly do in our lives. They can be so ingrained in what we do that we don’t always notice that we do them. They can work on a subconscious level which can be another way of saying that they are second nature to us. As we grow up, we learn to do things with help from our parents, teachers, friends, even strangers directly and indirectly. We also learn things by doing them on our own. As time goes on, we continue to repeat these behaviors and then they become habits.

From an early age, we are taught things that will help us to develop good habits. Throughout your life, there will be people who are likely to influence you to do the right thing and make good choices. Good habits can be very helpful and enriching to our lives. On tough days, they give us the extra push we need to get something done. Good habits help us to stay healthy both in our mind, body, and soul. Good habits can include being nice to our parents, siblings, friends, teachers, eating healthy, exercising, helping others, getting a good sleep, reading, etc.

As we grow up, people can have a bad influence on us. Like routines, you unfortunately can develop bad habits. You can develop bad habits from being around the wrong people who give you bad advice and are a bad influence. You may see people doing something they shouldn’t, like breaking into someones car, but they talk you into doing it with them. Then your hanging out with them and doing other things you shouldn’t. You may have developed a bad habit of biting your fingernails because you saw others doing it, you taught yourself to do it, or it’s how you deal with anxiety. Chewing on your pen, pencil, lying to people, or picking your nose are a few examples. If you have developed a bad habit that is harming you and or other people, then I would look into eliminating that because as time goes on, things can get worse.

If you have developed good habits that benefit your life and your happy, stick with them. They will enrich and bless your life in different ways right now and as you get older. If you have some bad habits let me tell you it’s not the end of the world. Habits can be changed and eliminated, they are not set in stone. Your not the only person in this world who has bad habits and the bad habits you do have, a lot of other people have them as well.

If you have any bad habits that you are looking to stop, here are some tips to help you out:

1. Remind Yourself Why You Want To Stop It

Having a bad habit can be hard to quit especially if you have been doing it for an extended period of time. You are likely to encounter days when it’s tougher than others and you may fall off the wagon and relapse back into your old ways. During those tough times, remind yourself why you wanted to stop this bad habit in the first place. Are you quitting it to improve your health, boost your self-esteem, improve a friendship/relationship, or eliminates stress? Whatever the reason or reasons for quitting the bad habit you have, remember them, they will help you get through those tough days. Remind yourself how much better your life will be without that bad habit or habits.

2. Be Patient With Yourself

Some bad habits can be easy to quit by going cold turkey, however not all of them are. As I mentioned, bad habits that have been apart of your life for a long time, may not be able to go cold turkey on. Sometimes they may take time to quit completely. You can’t rush the process. Remember these bad habits have become a part of your routine and your life. There will be an adjustment phase that you will go through where you may feel uncomfortable and that’s fine. Change can be good, but it can also be uncomfortable. If you try to rush the process, there is a chance where the temptation to fall back into your old ways may get the better of you because you aren’t used to that bad habit being out of your life. Those tough days will challenge you, but overall be patient with yourself. Don’t get discouraged and give up.

3. Replace a Bad Habit With a Good One

Another incentive you can use is substitution. Get rid of bad habit and replace it with a good one. Removing a bad habit can sometimes leave an emptiness in your life and you may feel weird about it and want to fill it up. For example, say you quit smoking, a replacement for that can be mediation. Bring something new into your life and say goodbye to the bad one.

4. Get a Support System

Getting rid of a bad habit can be tough by yourself. As I mentioned in a previous post, a support system can help you with various things. Have someone you trust hold you accountable for your actions. If you begin to relapse, your support system can help you get back on track. You can also be a support system for that other person as well. Team up with someone and you both hold each other accountable while you get rid of your bad habits.

5. Celebrate the Small Achievements

Kicking a bad habit as I said can be a process and can take time, don’t wait till the journey is over to celebrate. During this journey as you wean yourself off this bad habit or habits, you will have opportunities to celebrate the small wins. If you bite your fingernails 7 times a day and you manage to cut yourself down to 6 times a day, celebrate that. These small achievements will provide the energy to keep you motivated on eliminating bad habits.

Now if you want to create good habits because you want to make your life better or need good ones to replace the bad ones, here are some ways that can help you:

1. Start Small and be Realistic

It’s great that you want to make a change in your life, but start with something small that won’t take long to accomplish. You may feel tempted to make a big change, but don’t bite off more than you can chew and relapse or get discouraged.

2. Have a Clear Intention

Creating a good habit is great if your intention is clear. For example, if you want to cut junk food out of your life and exercise more, ask yourself what kind of exercises do you want to do? How many of them do want to do per session? How many days a week do you plan on exercising? Having answers to questions like these can help you to not bite off more than you chew and be realistic in the change you want to make in your life.

3. Invest in Your Habit

We you develop a good habit, stick with it and get excited about it. Put your energy and focus into it. It can prevent you from developing bad habits and going back to old ones. If it’s enriching your life and not harming yourself and others, then your good.

We develop good habits in our life that make our lives great. Yes we develop bad habits as well, there is no avoiding it, but that’s ok because were human and humans are not perfect. The environment we grow up in and spend our time in has an influence on what habits we develop. We just have to make smart choices and recognize what and who in our lives is helping us thrive and live and who and what is hindering our growth.

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