Life is a serious of habits which we adopt, some improve our life whilst others can be more detrimental.
They make up the routine of our daily life; many can be positive and life affirming yet others are damaging and unhealthy.
It's our ability to recognise which are affecting us negatively and how we alter them that has a big impact on our wellbeing.
Of course, before you begin on the journey of changing your bad habits, you need to identify them.
Why not sit down quietly with a journal and a pen, and make a list of the personal habits you'd like to modify.
They could be things like snacking in between meals, being too sedentary, using your phone too much, drinking, over-spending and so on.
Anything that you do regularly which has a negative impact on your mental health, your wellbeing and the loved ones around you needs to change.
Be realistic about how many of your habits you can change at one time. Don't put yourself under too much pressure.
Habits such as smoking, drinking and eating unhealthily take time to change, and lots of effort.
Giving yourself too many targets at once can often lead to failure so be kind to yourself and take it one step at a time.
Which habits would you change to begin with? Perhaps start small and build to some of the bigger ones.
One of the key ways to change a bad habit is to replace it with something else.
Let's imagine you'd like to stop being so sedentary but your job entails working at a computer all day. Why not invest in a standing desk? This way you'll find it much easier to move around whilst you're working and will keep your adrenaline levels higher. You'll also notice an improvement in your posture over time.
If you love a drink in the evenings, break the habit which surrounds that activity. It might be you simply replace the drink with another, or don't engage in the activity which leads to the drink in the first place. Give yourself something else to do to distract your mind and form a new habit.
If you make these changes over a long enough period of time, the new activity becomes your habit and you forget all about the old one. Easier said than done?
Well it just takes a little willpower. You must WANT the change to make it happen. Don't do it just because others are telling you to. It must come from you. Only then will you be able to apply the willpower these changes require.
Once you've identified your bad habits and have a system in place for replacing them, work towards some smaller goals and reward yourself at each stage.
For example, if you want to encourage yourself to drink more water, keep a log of this in your day planner and when you've done one full week of meeting your targets give yourself a treat - that might be a trip to the cinema to see a film, or buying yourself that new book you've been after.
A small reward helps motivate you and keep you on track. It gives you small goals to target in the longer journey and makes the whole approach much more manageable.
Having the support of your friends and family is incredibly helpful if you're going to succeed.
Tell people about your goals. Tell them the habits you're trying to change and ask them to keep you accountable.
Once you put these things out in the open, rather than keeping them private, you're much more likely to succeed.
Another great way to keep you focused is to pair up with an accountability partner. Find someone who wants to change the same habit, perhaps healthier eating, using your phone less or drinking less coffee and check in with each other regularly.
Sharing your experiences with another person gives you extra incentive to succeed. You won't want to let your partner down, and regular goal reviews will encourage you to stay focused.
Approaching your bad habits in this way and identifying a plan to change them, will help you feel more positive, improve your wellbeing and lead to a happier you.
Why not tackle your bad habits now. Use your journal to create your list and then set your goals and rewards in your planner per week and month.
Beat the procrastination and start today!
And don't forget to let us know how you get on, we can't wait to find out.
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