When you are trying to overcome the negative habits in your subconscious mind that are affecting different areas of your life, you might find that it is hard to really get past them. You might make a decision to not do them again but when moments of weakness come, they overtake you and make you go back to the old habits.
The practice of mindfulness together with affirmations and determined effort has helped thousands, if not millions, with getting rid of bad habits slowly by slowly and permanently overcoming them.
Let’s see how you can work with them as well to drop the habits that hold you back and pick up more positive and uplifting habits.
Understanding The Proper Decision-Making Process
Recognizing your bad habits and deciding to keep away from them are among the initial steps to letting go of poor habits. It all begins when you become aware of how certain habits you have taken up and let settle in your life are negatively affecting you and reducing the quality of your life.
When you acknowledge that the things you do are not benefiting at all, then you work towards distancing yourself from them.
Before you make that final decision and completely make up your mind to stop engaging in the destructive habits you have been engaging in, in the past, you need to understand the habits well and the impacts they have on your life and wellbeing so that you can grasp and hold on the real reason you are letting them go.
The reasons why you are choosing to get rid of your poor habits become your anchor for letting them go and opting for more improved ways of doing things.
The anchor is what constantly reminds you why you shouldn’t do the things you have been doing because of the effects that come with them and it keeps you grounded and firm on your decision.
Sometimes, when you decide to drop a certain habit without fully understanding your “why” of dropping them, you might find that you crawl back to the habits and keep at them and then realize later on that you had said you would leave them but you are still doing them.
For instance, if you say you will stop interrupting people when they are speaking without defining why you feel that is bad, you will keep doing it whenever the urge to speak comes up even when others are speaking.
However, if you take time and reflect, and come to understand that interrupting people when they are talking comes across as rude and selfish, and makes people resent you, you can easily be firm with your decision to not do it again whenever you remember its effects on your life.
On top of that, you should also spend time visualizing how your life without the bad habits is going to be.
You create scenes in your mind where you often find yourself letting the bad habits run wild and then see yourself taking alternative routes to do the same things. This simple practice allows you to understand what you are about to do and the change that is about to happen in your life and see if you are ready for it.
If you feel comfortable with it, you then proceed to make the final decision and determine that from a certain date, you will no longer engage in the habits.
Creating a Reasonable Approach Plan on Dropping The Bad Habits
After making the big decision, it is important to figure out how you are going to approach the new life you want to live and keep the old habits at bay. To achieve that successfully, there are some things you should consider deeply.
Firstly, you should acknowledge that the journey is not going to be a smooth one. There will be times when you feel pulled towards the habits and it is going to demand quite a lot from you to avoid going back to them.
Secondly, you should consider most of the instances in the past where you found yourself practicing the habits you want to drop and identify them as your moments of weakness. This step is critical as it prepares you for future instances, which are similar to the past instances in which you engaged in the habits a lot, that might tempt you to go back to the negative habits.
Thirdly, you also need to understand under which circumstances you find yourself too weak to resist the urge to go back to the habits. Maybe it is when you are in a cheerful mood and around your friends, or when you are intoxicated with alcohol, or when you are feeling sad and overwhelmed by emotions. Identifying such scenarios that you know very well will increase your chances of revisiting your old habits will help you raise your guard when they come and help keep you firm with your decision
Finally, you should begin acting upon the decision. Set a date when you will officially begin resisting the habits and work with the better alternatives that improve your life. With the understanding of the bad habits and why you are choosing to no longer engage in them, the understanding of how hard the self-transformation journey will be, the understanding of your weak moments, and the scenarios where you are highly likely to get back to the habits, you are now equipped to commence your journey.
What you may need to do now is start small. Set short-term goals. For example, you can say you will not practice the bad habits for 1 day, to begin with, and then move on to 2 days and then 3 days and so on. After each period, you should consider rewarding yourself with something positive to help increase your motivation to keep going.
It also helps to use mental check-ins for long periods of resisting the habits, that is, from 2 days going upward. Since you have acknowledged that it will be a tough journey, you need to know how you will handle the difficulty, and using check-ins is one of the ways to do that.
Mental check-ins are simply the quick moments you take to check in with yourself to see how you are doing. Have you been able to resist the urges that have come up thus far? Are you remembering your anchor? Are you feeling strong enough to keep going?
Mental check-ins provide motivation and increase your inner strength to keep working towards your goal.
Working With Mindfulness, Affirmations, And Determined Effort
Mindfulness involves the awareness of the present moment without forming judgments or opinions on it. Just simply being aware of it.
Mental check-ins are a form of mindfulness that help you see how you are doing at that moment.
Mindfulness comes in handy as far as dropping bad habits is concerned. By bringing mindfulness to something you don’t want to do, you are able to recognize when the urge to do it comes and be well-armed to fight it.
There are different ways to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation is one of them. There are other mindfulness techniques such as mindful speaking, mindful listening, mindful walking, mindful working, mindful showering, mindful resting (resting awareness) you can work with, too.
You can pick the mindfulness technique that is related to the habits you are trying to work on to help you be aware of them and have a fairly easy time letting them go. In the case of interrupting people, you can go with mindful speaking and listening.
After that, you can look for positive affirmations related to the habits which are positive and encouraging to remind you that you are well-prepared to do it and you can actually do it. Again, using the interruption example, you can choose to use affirmations such as “I let go of the limiting habits and openly receive and accept better habits”, “I have the courage, strength, and ability to listen keenly to people until they are done talking”, “I continue to grow and improve each day”, and any others that have a personal and deeper effect on you.
Positive affirmations have been found to increase activity in the posterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex which are the regions of the brain linked to self-processing and valuation.
When you self-affirm, you enhance your self-perception and make it possible to do the things you say you can do.
Determined effort is the spine of all achievement. When you are determined to do something and keep up the determination throughout the period you are doing the thing you intended to do, you eventually succeed at it.
In this case, having decided to let go of the bad habits, and being mindful of yourself and the moments when the temptations arise, your determination to remember the anchor, use the affirmations and resist the desire to go back to the habits are what make you a winner.
It is worth noting that building mindfulness and the determination you require to fight off the bad habits may take time for some people. You may have to do it a couple of times as you fail often, but if you don’t give up, and keep your focus on the new life you want to live and work towards it, you eventually transform your life into what you want it to be.
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