December 27, 2012

5 Ways to Break Unhealthy Habits in the New Year

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As the new year approaches, many people are contemplating their new year's resolution, a tradition that has been practiced for generations. Breaking bad habits and leaving nonsensical hobbies are usually the focal point of such contemplation. Unfortunately, it is easier and simpler to start unhealthy habits than to actually end them, considering the fact that most habits are addictive, such as smoking and drinking.  It will take more than abstinence to permanently eliminate your unhealthy habits though. So, below are 5 ways that can help you do so in a safe manner. 


Accept the Facts
Most people who have unhealthy habits deny the reality of the situation. You may very well be addicted to drugs, alcohol or cigarettes, or even food. Not recognizing this fact deters you from accomplishing the goals they set out to do. Acknowledge your habits and own them. Denial won't do you any good. You are merely fooling yourself. Your family, friends, relatives, and, most importantly, you know that these habits exist, so own them. Once you've accepted this fact, it will start to lose its power over you. It is absolutely much better to acknowledge your unhealthy habits than ignore or hide them.


Determine the Source
Understand where your bad habits spawned. What situation in your life caused you to develop this unhealthy habit? What problems led you to drinking alcohol or eat too much? After identifying where the bad habits come from, they are much easier to solve, since you can likely figure out how to avoid lighting those fuses, or at least work at stemming the problem at the source.


Identify Your Reasons
How easy it is to break unhealthy habits relies on many different factors, one of which is the reason why you are breaking it. If you break a habit for the wrong reason, there is a good chance the habit will rebound sooner or later. Do you want to feel better about yourself? Do you want to gain more energy or time for your family or friends? Do you want to look and/or feel healthier? Perhaps you wish to live longer than the average smoker's lifespan? Once you determine your main reason for getting rid of these unhealthy and often life-compromising habits, it will be much simpler to search for the right motivation and strategies to accomplish your goals.


Join Support Groups
There are a number of public and private support groups legally operating in different communities all over the country for people who need to work on fixing their lives. There are groups focusing on cigarette smoking, drug abuse, dieting, exercise, positivity, gambling and more. If you can't find one in your community, you can likely find one online. 


Replace them With Good Habits
The bad habits you've flushed from your system should be replaced with good habits. For example, if you want to eliminate your habit of indulging in junk food and fast food, replace your diet with things that are both appealing to you and healthy. If you don't actively try to replace the unhealthy habit, it'll be much easier to fall back into it.


Janelle Harper writes about health, nutrition, addiction and mental health. Her most recent work has focused on the top schools for online counseling degrees.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Such great tips! These are a few so many people don't consider when trying to change their habits. Especially identifying the source! Hope your new years is going great :)