Somehow, we think a new year’s resolution is a good way to start a brand new year. Many of us (especially those with experience) have now come to realize that we would be doing great if our new year’s resolution lasted longer than the first three weeks of the year.
Why is it so difficult to break bad habits? Here are some reasons and possible solutions:
- You did not plan how to tackle your behavior. Don’t just jump right in without planning. Analyze your habits, your weaknesses, your environment, etc and plan what changes should be made and how you will make those changes.
- You are trying to break a habit that is way too large. Don’t try to tackle the whole mountain all at once…start small and chip away at the mountain. For example, if you are trying to break a smoking habit, how about one less cigarette a day/week and progress from there once you notice success?
- A year of pressure might be too daunting. Why not just forget the year and take it one day at a time?Promising that you will eat healthier the whole year, for example, might seem like a lifetime.
- Accountability: Are you trying to break a big habit alone? If so, you might find yourself having the opportunity to cheat since no one is watching. How about finding an accountability friend (not a parent–there’s a difference) who can encourage you along the way.
- Encouragement: You deserve to give yourself a treat after each small success. BUT avoid using your bad habit to treat yourself because you might find yourself sliding backward! If you’re trying to lose weight and you’ve lost a few pounds, buy a new outfit or get a new hairdo as encouragement.
- Replace the bad habit with something equally rewarding. Don’t just break a bad habit and leave a gap for the bad habit to later raise its ugly head or let something worse take its place. Be intentional and replace the bad habit with a positive behavior that stimulates you the same way or in a similar way.
- If you fail, get up and continue. Expect to lose some battles. Losing battles doesn’t mean you lost the war unless you decide not to fight.
- Try reducing stress. Typically bad habits form under stress.
Bad habits are easy to form but can be broken with strategic planning and intentional behavior changes.