If you’ve been focused on building healthy habits you’re on the right track. But we all have an unhealthy habit that we just can’t seem to break. Whether it’s an unhealthy midnight snack, routinely staying up too late at night, or skipping meals, breaking that unhealthy habit might be the key to breaking through to a healthy lifestyle.
Let’s work together on breaking our unhealthiest habit this fall with the tips and tricks below.
- Admit it. Maybe you already know that routinely binging on candy before bed is the unhealthy habit that you need to break. The first step is to admit to yourself that your habit isn’t conducive to the healthy lifestyle you’re trying to live or the healthy example you’re trying to set for your children. Once you’re able to admit to yourself that you have a bad habit, you can begin to mentally prepare for changing your behavior.
- Replace it. Instead of losing sleep to catch up on your favorite television shows night after night, find a healthy substitute that will get you to bed earlier. If you need time to wind down before bed and clear your mind, try replacing your nighttime television habit with a relaxing warm bath, a book, or a mindful meditation. Replacing your unhealthy behavior with a healthier behavior not only eliminates the bad habit, but it promotes a good habit and gives you something to look forward to when it’s time to prepare for a solid, uninterrupted eight hours of sleep.
- Focus on one change at a time. It can be tempting to throw out all of the processed foods, commit to eight hours of sleep, and plan to drink nothing but water for the rest of our lives, but the reality is that too much change all at once can be overwhelming and is usually ineffective. Instead of completely revamping your lifestyle, focus on one bad habit at a time. Consider your personality and your attachment to the habit and decide what will be the easiest change to stick to first. Once you decide what habit you’re truly ready to break, you can build momentum and set yourself up for success when it’s time to tackle the next bad habit on your list.
- Be mindful. Before you overindulge on a midnight snack, freeze and notice what you’re thinking and feeling in that minute. Why do you find yourself drawn to the candy dish late at night? Are you bored? Stressed? Avoiding something more productive? Once you know that your habit is self-destructive and you’re ready for a change, you are ready to start figuring out why you have the habit. Instead of giving into your craving, spend a minute meditating on how you feel and start thinking of healthier solutions. Would a nighttime yoga routine reduce your stress? Would a glass of water or a piece of fruit satisfy your hunger? Experiment with the healthier solution while you work through the bad habit and find what works for you.
- Don’t give up! Habits are hard to break. Patterns are often formed in childhood and can feel almost automatic. As you begin to work your way toward breaking a bad habit, you might have the occasional slip-up. Now that you’re committed to breaking a bad habit, though, you’ll recognize it for what it is, vow to do better tomorrow, and try again. Don’t let one slip up throw you back into your unhealthy patterns.
What tricks have you used to overcome a bad habit?