If you are like me, or any other human in the known universe, you probably struggle with breaking bad habits. But this is not something that I condemn myself about. It isn’t something that paralyzes my everyday life and stops me from moving ahead.
I know that I was intended for something greater than this, that I have a greater purpose so I shouldn’t dwell on negatives. Author Erwin McManus speaks about this in his book Soul Cravings, saying “We are designed with a need to move forward. Without it our lives become only shadows of what they could have been” Wallowing in bad habits is not an option.
Realizing that you are stuck in a negative pattern in a particular area of your life may not be easy. When I become aware that I have been actively acting poorly, and have fallen into bad habits, I stop and take stock. It is the most beneficial thing that you can do for yourself to move forward. There are some questions to ask so that you can assess where you are in the process:
- In what situations do you see yourself participating in the bad habit?
- Is it possibly a habitual thing you don’t think about or notice you are doing?
- Is it stress related?
- Are there certain environmental factors that lead to it happening or trigger it?
Stuck in a bad habit
Getting rid of the old habits will depend on being able to pin exactly what it is that brings about the negative actions time and time again. In the next few weeks, reflect on yourself whenever you notice your negative habits appearing. After every occurrence, make notes about what happened before you found yourself in that situation, and what lead it to occur. What were you thinking and feeling before, during, and especially after it happened?
Once you have come to realize exactly what the old habit is, and WHY you continue to do it, you can focus on brining personal relief to the situation. Do you need to work on self-confidence, being in groups, stress, or handling criticism? There are many reasons that you may have slipped into this negative behavior. I know that almost every time I catch myself engaging in a negative behavior pattern, it is a symptom of a far greater problem. The diagnosis has been different for me nearly every time. But the desire to face the problems head on and move past it has been a constant.
Refusing to be held in a pattern
After you acknowledge the reasons and feelings behind the behavior, you need to move onto the next step: Changing the habit. What are alternative and healthier reactions that you can pursue the next time you feel yourself slipping? How can you change your ways of thinking and viewing the subject that will allow you to prosper instead on fall into a negative pattern? Try to think of positive and healthy ways.
When you notice yourself slipping into the old ways, simply stop. Take a breather. Count in your head, take a deep breath and reassess the situation. I would again suggest that you should write down what initially triggered you, and how you began to react. This will help you avoid these reactions in the future and to start to respond in a positive manner.
Be patient. Nothing is fixed in mere moments. Getting rid of the old to allow room for the new in your life is not going to be an easy process. You WILL slip into your old behaviors from time to time. But you are still moving in the right direction if you don’t give up!
Now keep the momentum going! Be patient with yourself, and set up a system to address when you are slipping behind. Have a point person. Having someone that you feel comfortable to discuss these situations with will be greatly beneficial. It’s healthy for us to simply share our thoughts and emotions, feelings and struggles with another who is not there to judge, but to offer understanding and support.
-From Power to Change Blog-