How to Break Bad Habits

We all have them. Big ones, small ones and ones we don’t even realize. We’re talking about habits. Psychotherapist Hina Khan says we can say goodbye to our bad habits forever, by understanding them and taking the proper steps.

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What is a habit?

Habits are routine behaviours done on a regular basis. And because they're done often and repeated frequently we can be unconscious of even doing them, like biting your nails.  Our

How does a habit differ from an addiction?

The key difference is that you feel like you cannot live without whatever it is that you are addicted too. It's a compulsive need that can have horrible effects, not only to you but to those around you. A habit can be controlled or modified. And while you can break an addiction, the process is very different and many times requires professional help. Habits can also be both positive and negative, but they are not destructive.

You say there are habits associated with addiction?

Yes, for example, you may be addicted to cigarettes and have a habit of having a cigarette with your coffee in the morning. The compulsive need for it is the addiction, and the unconscious reaching for it at specific times during the day is a habit.

You say there are positive habits we should have in our lives. How can we form those?

Yes, for many that is what resolutions are: trying to form a new positive habit. But, you have to do some pre-paving beforehand to set yourself up for success. Have a plan in place, get clear on your intention, create an environment that supports your new habit and have fun with it! If it feels like a chore it won't stick!

So, how can you break even your most stubborn habit in a month?

Week One: Make the Decision

Commit to breaking a habit to make it happen! Make a conscious choice to not continue a habit. Make a list of why you want to break the habit (for example: to be healthier). Believe in yourself, and approach this with a positive frame of mind

Week Two: Take On a Good Habit

Come Up with a positive habit to replace the bad one! If you want to stop drinking coffee, come up with something that you enjoy to replace it — maybe it's a yummy shake or a tea — then do the work that will make it attainable. In this instance, prep your shake in advance so in the morning it is just as easy to reach for as a cup of coffee. Whatever you choose to replace your habit with, make it fun and enjoyable!

Week Three: Change Your Routine

Switch things up! This will help to eliminate triggers. If you always eat in front of the TV, ditch the TV tray and only eat at the kitchen/dining room table. If you always have a cigarette first thing in the morning, have a shower first and brush your teeth.

Week Four: Find Support

Look for help from loved ones, support groups or counselling. Sometimes it takes a village, so find your own support group. With technology you can even find support at your fingertips. Look for groups and organizations online that can help you through the process, as well as those you can meet in person.

 

Video: How to Break Bad Habits

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