Break That Habit!

Is the cycle of bad habits a real challenge for you? I don’t know about you, but some of them stopped me from living unstuck. But breaking that bad habit isn’t as hard as it seems. I managed to break three of those within two months. Yes, that’s quitting three habits in less than 21 days.

First, I broke these pests down. Habits like slouching when using my cell phone, deviating from my budget and not having any down time. Then I took steps to change them one at a time.

So how did I do this? I used the Control/Alternate/Delete Method. What’s that, you ask? Read on.

Identify your triggers. First, it was important for me to figure out what was triggering that bad habit. Sometimes, this is easier than others. But slouching with my cell phone was an easy one. My neck would be sore halfway through the day. Frivolous spending was oh-so-clear, for it showed up in my bank balance. And not having down time? Cranky me.

Alternate. The second step involves self-reflection. I asked myself questions, like:

  • What positive gain am I getting from this habit?
  • Why do I need: comfort, relief . . . fill in the blank?

And I learned a lot. For instance, I slouched because it felt comfortable. When I was tired, I spent more on stuff. And there’s usually a push to finish projects. All positive gains, but they don’t turn out well in the long run. More reading revealed reinforcement for what I discovered. Slouching? I have seen too many ads showing what happens when someone hunches over a cell phone or computer. And it felt good to spend at day’s end or after 7:00 pm on my computer. But oh, the consequences. Working non-stop? Time to check self-esteem and see how I can be good to myself. I found out a lot about who I am and why I do things.

While I was considering these patterns, I began to write them down and make a list of what I could “do instead.” Which led to:

Delete. Everyone has moments of weakness. But I developed a Defense Plan for those moments.

1) I pictured myself sitting tall as I used my cell phone. Even imagining a string attached to the top of my head did the trick.

2) I figured out I over-spent when I was tired or felt I deserved a treat of some sort. Every now and again is fine, but on a continuous basis? Didn’t work for me. I made a rule that I didn’t shop on the computer after 7:00 pm. I even have a friend who takes my wish list and holds it for a day or two. If I really want whatever it is at that time, I give the signal and she orders. (She also finds fabulous deals! A win-win.

3) And I began to schedule time for me to do fun things. Recently, I went to the Hot Air Balloon Festival. The Duff and I had such fun. And such interesting people! Next week, it will be something different. I eliminated the problem times and congratulated myself when I deleted that habit. I did it and you can too. That’s living unstuck.

How do you break those pesky habits? Leave a comment below.

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