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How Do I Replace Bad Habits With Good Ones?

Bad habits. They can range in severity from something as simple as biting our fingernails when we are anxious to relying on drugs and alcohol to make it through the day. Some habits can harm us and those who are close to us. They are not cute or just something we picked up along the way. They are behaviors that can have devastating impacts on our lives, and when we realize we have those bad habits, we need to rid ourselves of them. When it’s time to get rid of a bad habit, the best approach can be to replace it with a good one.

Steps to Replace a Bad Habit

Habits have long been thought to be merely a process of behavior repeated often enough that it becomes automatic for us. While this is still the consensus amongst researchers, new studies have revealed that these automatic behaviors are more likely to occur in conjunction with situations that trigger them. With this in mind, here are some steps you can take to put yourself on track to healthier habits.

#1. Name the Bad Habit

This may sound like a no-brainer, but admitting to ourselves that a habit is bad for us and identifying the specific habit encourages us to acknowledge the importance of embracing a new path.

#2. Identify Potential Triggering Scenarios

The expression “If you go to a barber shop, you’re going to get a haircut” is pretty common in addiction circles. Oftentimes, a habit presents itself in specific places or with specific people. While it may be obvious that visiting a bar may lead us to drink, it may be less obvious that visiting our favorite restaurant can trigger that very same behavior.

#3. Avoid Certain People, Places, and Things

This strictly applies to things that trigger our bad habits. It is important to do the best we can. If sitting on the couch and watching television compels us to eat junk food, then we can avoid that, but if family or work causes the stress that leads us to crave a drink, obviously, we can’t abandon those two things. But acknowledging that those are triggering a negative response can be enough to take ourselves out of the moment.

#4. Find Good Habits

The fun part about our psyches is that they crave habits. New, good habits can become just as addictive as bad ones. Anytime we can work exercise into our regimen, our bodies and minds reward us for it. That doesn’t mean it’s fun in the beginning. So even though exercise is the most commonly encouraged new habit to form, it is not the only one worth embracing. Reading, writing, volunteering, learning a new language, and discovering healthy recipes are just a few good habits that can replace the bad.

In the long run, we’re in charge of ourselves. Our habits are our responsibility, and while that may feel overwhelming, that also means that they are ours to break. Taking care of ourselves is the most rewarding habit we get to form; with a little work, it can be a lifelong commitment.

Breaking bad habits can feel like a daunting, overwhelming task. Even when we can identify the need to stop a bad habit in its tracks, it can feel daunting when we try to tackle it on our own. In these cases, professional help can be beneficial beyond words. If you or a loved one struggle with a bad habit or addiction and would like the benefit of professional guidance, The Guest House can help. For more information, call (855) 483-7800.