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Inner Alchemy: Replace Bad Habits With Good Ones

Date 3/11/2024
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Want to break a bad habit? Form a good one to replace it.

Want to break a bad habit? Form a good one to replace it.

Do you have a habit you'd like to break? Maybe you want to cut back on your daily caffeine intake, or maybe you'd like to spend less time watching Netflix before bed. Whatever your vice, there are ways you can turn a bad habit into a good one. We'll help you ditch your old, unhealthy habits and form new ones in their place.

Why Do Bad Habits Form?

You know you should go to the gym instead of binge-watching the latest season of "Love Is Blind," so why can't you make yourself do it? Habits form when an event or circumstance triggers you to take a specific action. Once taking this action, you get a reward. This reward creates a sense of pleasure, causing you to repeat the action when you're presented with the same circumstances.

Here's an example: Let's say you have a bad habit of eating half a chocolate bar after dinner. Each night, you're triggered to eat the chocolate once you've finished your dinner. You get pleasure from eating the chocolate because it feels like a treat at the end of a long day. The next night, you're more likely to reach for some chocolate after dinner because you remember how good it felt the night before.

Over time, it becomes increasingly hard to break certain habits, especially if you've repeated them for years. However, it's certainly not impossible. One of the best ways to break a bad habit is to form a good one in its place. That's because the process is the same for creating good and bad habits. Here are the steps you can take to ditch a bad habit and develop a good one instead.

List Your Habits

It's not fun to list all your bad habits, but it's essential for learning why they exist in the first place. Take some time to make a list of the habits that no longer serve you. Think about the actions you routinely perform without much thought. For example, do you start scrolling social media first thing in the morning? Do you reach for a second glass of wine after a stressful day at work? Write down any habits you can think of that you'd like to replace with better ones.

Identify Triggers

Now that you have a list of your bad habits in front of you, spend some time identifying the causes of each one. Consider what triggers you to perform the bad habit. For example, you might regularly find yourself in the drive-thru whenever you forget to pack your lunch. Identifying what triggers a bad habit can allow you to begin taking steps to change it.

Remove the Cause

In some cases, it might be possible to simply remove the cause of a bad habit. If you hit snooze too many times each morning, for instance, you can move your phone to the other side of the room, ensuring you get out of bed when your alarm goes off. This strategy essentially forces you to replace a bad habit with a good one. Since you're now getting up right after your alarm goes off, you can start your day earlier.

Choose a New Habit

While removing the cause can be effective in some instances, certain habits may be harder to break. In those situations, you can choose a new habit to replace the old action. To start, think about the habit you want to change, and consider a healthier action you can take instead. For example, if you usually get a cup of coffee after lunch to prevent that 2 p.m. slump, you might choose to go for a walk to energize yourself instead.

Make a Plan

Once you know the new habit you want to form, make a plan. It's difficult to change a habit, so start by taking small steps. Set benchmarks you can use as you work toward your goal. For example, if you want to read for an hour before bed instead of watching TV, start by reading for 10 minutes before turning on a show. Gradually increase your reading time each week until you're no longer watching any television before bed.

Reward Yourself

Remember how a habit forms? You need to reward yourself for a good habit, just like a bad one, to train yourself to keep doing it. If you meet your exercise goal for the week, for example, you might give yourself a manicure or take a leisurely bath. Just make sure the reward you choose doesn't lead to another bad habit. You don't want to treat yourself to ice cream every time you go to the gym, for instance.

Journal About Your Habits

It's easy to become frustrated when working to change a bad habit. Journaling can be an excellent way to document your journey and reflect on your progress. Each day, journal about your new habit, the intentions you have, and the progress you've made. The next time you experience a setback, you can return to your journal and remind yourself of how far you've already come.

Have an Accountability Partner

Sometimes, we're more likely to listen to someone else than our own inner voice. Choose an accountability partner to help you on your journey toward good habits. Make sure it's someone you trust and feel safe with. Your accountability partner might be a close friend, partner, parent, spouse, or therapist. Whoever it is, ask them to check on you and celebrate your progress as you work to better yourself.

Give Yourself Grace

When building new habits feels impossible, remember this: It likely took you many weeks, months, or even years to form the bad habit. You won't be able to change it overnight, so give yourself some grace. Stay focused on your goals and intentions, and remind yourself that you're worth the effort. With some time and patience, you'll notice that it gets easier to stick with a good habit.

Do you need some extra help with breaking a bad habit? We're here for you. Schedule a reading with a Psychic Source Advisor who can provide personalized insights and guidance on your journey. It's easier to change a bad habit when you have someone in your corner.


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