Whether its smoking, shopping, or anything in between; we all have that one bad habit that we want to get rid of. Although we may speak on stopping a lot, once a habit is set in our minds it is extremely difficult to actually do so. Sometime we can even disappoint other or even ourselves because we tried to quit, and just couldn’t. The fact is even if you and your mind want to quit, somewhere in the back of your mind is this habit programmed into your brain. You not only have to fight physical and emotional symptoms of quitting, you also have to reset how your mind thinks and change how it feels about the habit. So when it comes to quitting, saying you are going to do so is simply not enough.
So what is one to do in this situation? Well, I have done quite a lot of research because I am at this point. There is a lot I am trying to quit doing, and a lot I want to change my thinking on. I know I am at a disadvantage because my mind is already depressed, but I am at an advantage because I want this more than anything. Although I have promised myself, and even my son, that I would quit cigarettes, I still have not managed to do so.
I even signed up for the free quit program, but decided to get the gum and not the patch and could not do it. I tried to chew the gum for about 10 minutes before I had to quickly spit it out. I honestly felt the nicotine going into my throat, and it was just the worst taste and feeling ever. For awhile I also vaped, and that was about my best alternative. With all the mixed news and information on vaping, I doubted for awhile if it was even that much healthier. So I went right back to cigarettes. And now I am at square one, again.
However, my friend (who has been smoking just as long as me) quit without any form of help. She had been reading this book that supposedly helps you retrain your brain, and when she was done reading it she put down the cigarettes and did not have a craving since. This is what made me realize these habits are more mental than they are physical. So in reality, there is no excuses for not quitting something you wish to quit. It simply takes some time and planning, along with retraining your mind and how it thinks.
There are certain reasons why people fail at killing their bad habits. One of those reasons is unrealistic planning. Whenever planning anything, always set goals that you know are achievable (while still pushing you). Another reason people fail at killing bad habits is that they simply do not plan. When you do not plan, you can not consider all your obstacles you could cross along the way.
When it comes to actually changing your bad habits, I came across a lot of information you might find useful:
- Susan Krauss Whitbourne believes that in order to break your bad habit or behavior, you must first get rid of the reward it brings you. Once you can get rid of the reward you achieve from the habit, or find another way to feel that reward, you will be able to quit that habit easier.
- Elliot Berkman, PhD is the head of the dept. of psychology at the university of Oregon. He believes that there are 3 factors that affect the amount of time it will take you to break your habit.
- the first the alternative you have when the urges get to strong. If you are able to have an alternative to your habit, your time to quit that habit will be shorter.
- the second factor is simply your motivation. How bad you want to actually stop for yourself will affect the amount of time it takes you to quit.
- lastly is your mental and physical strength. When killing any habit, you will have some type of withdrawals that are usually emotional, mental, and physical. How strong you are to fight these symptoms and get through the first few days will affect how quickly you acutally quit your bad habit
Now, when it comes to actually stopping your bad habit, here are some tips:
- The first step is recognizing your habit. If you do not see your habit as something negative you will never care to actually stop it.
- Never say that you are “quitting” something or that you are “not to do” that anymore. Instead of this being something negative, turn it into a positive statement. For example, if you are trying to quit smoking, instead of saying, “I am going to quit smoking” tell yourself something like, “I am living a healthier life as of today.”
- When you feel the urge to give into your bad habit, take some time to really think about the moment when you feel this urge. Take time to realize your thought process, and what makes you feel you need to do this. You will soon realize how silly your reasons may be for wanting to give in, or that your reasoning does not outweigh why you are changing.
- Before you quit you should always take time to realize there will be bad moments when killing your bad habits. Take time to think of the obstacles you will cross and make a plan on how you will handle them.
- Journals sometimes help when killing bad habits. Recording when urges occur and why can help you understand and break your habit.
- Never make quitting something more difficult than it already is. One day when you have quit you will be tempted, but do not sit there and tempt yourself while trying to quit. Take some time to change your surroundings so that it is easier for you on your journey. Basically, whatever it is you are quitting, get it out of your house completely.
- Remember that when you make a new habit (even without trying) you are encoding a new set of automatic behavior into your brain. If you wish to break a habit, you have to take a different set of processes. For example, if you want to start taking vitamins daily simply place them where you will see them and remember everyday. However if you are quitting a bad habit, you must replace the current habit with a different set of behaviors.
I am personally on my journey in trying to quit a lot of bad habits. Among those is smoking cigarettes and changing how I think about certain things. Really, when it comes down to any thing in life, it is all a mind game. If you get yourself in the right mind set, you can accomplish anything. All you have to do is take the time to understand how your brain is thinking, and what that means. Once you start to understand how the mind works and operates, you are more able to control exactly what your mind and body are up to.
I hope this information helps a lot of people, and please comment below if you are also on a journey to killing a bad habit!