How Do You Change Bad Habits?
- July 17, 2017
- Posted by: Brian Heater
- Category: Mental & Spiritual Well-Being
We all want to change certain habits….those things that are not healthy for us. The inertia of not changing sometimes seems easier though; so many people simply do not make that initial push because it seems too hard. Most people think that habits are locked in the brain and are difficult to change. But is this really true? What if there are effective ways in which we can overcome a “bad” habit?
Habits are simply patterns of behavior and belief. Yes, they can be deeply ingrained for some of us, but they are possible to change. The best way to look at it is this – Don’t think of defeating your habit. Don’t battle the habit through will-power alone. Think instead of gradually erasing an imprint on your brain and cells. You are simply recording new imprints by modifying your belief and then your behavior. Over time your brain will adapt to the new pattern and your habit will be gone. The most difficult part is the initial behavior change, yet if you change your belief, your behavior change will be that much easier.
The brain and our cells imprint memories of our daily lives. We hold in our bodies our experiences. These experiences dictate our behaviors and beliefs. How we are educated, what our families are like, what success or failure we have had, all of these things are imprinted in our bodies on a cellular level. The good news is that cells can change. We grow new cells everyday and our body is in a state of constant change. We can therefore use this constant change to change our habits.
How do we go about doing this?
Step #1 – The first step is Belief – this is where it all begins. You first must alter your belief. The best way to do this is by writing out your new belief, which is your goal, and looking at it every day. I suggest using a small index card as you can take it with you and look at it regularly. Another important way is to take 10 minutes once or twice a day visualizing the change in your mind. Feel the behavior change…believe it. What these techniques are doing is helping your mind establish new patterns. Repetition can lead to a new imprint, which helps establish behavioral changes.
Step #2 – The second step is Behavior Change – Once the belief is initially set in place, then you need to focus on taking small steps in changing your behavior. Below are some tips to help when your “old” patterns come up –
Beginning Strategies to help with Behavior Change-
1) Walk-away- simply do something else. Put your new belief into action. Take a small step and make that change…once you start changing, it will become easier
2) Postpone your choice – give yourself some time, anytime can help you make another choice
3) Find a distraction – your old behavior can be altered simply by being distracted with something else
4) Substitute another pleasure – find a more “healthy” behavior that can be a strong substitute
5) Observe – observe your craving and old habit. Get to the deeper aspect of why you have this habit. Think about your new belief system…utilize your belief changing strategies
Step #3 – Give it Time – Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t battle the habit. Be happy with small steps every day.
Step #4 – Support System – Have friends and family be aware of your changes…ask them to support you in this change.
Step # 5 – Find helpful therapies – There are also many therapies that can help with belief and behavioral changes. Hypnotherapy works very well for many people as it works on altering your old belief pattern that are ingrained in your brain and body. Sound “brain wave” therapy also can help alter your old patterns. The ”law of attraction” principals can be very helpful in supporting your new belief system and giving you tools for change. Meditation, affirmations and prayer can also help support changes.
Need some additional free help on changing a habit?
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To your Well-Being!
Brian M Heater