How to Change Unhealthy Habits
Let’s face it: No matter how many healthy habits you have, if you can’t break the unhealthy ones, you will only be able to go so far with your health and body goals.
It’s very difficult to achieve your ideal digestion, skin, appearance, energy, weight etc, when you have habits that directly prevent them!
Changing unhealthy habits (any habits that don’t support you to feel, be and do what is best for you) can be a very complex process because there are usually so many facets involved.
Some of the reasons we continue to invest in unhealthy habits can include:
- social pressures and ramifications
- emotional attachments and reasons
- mental association and psychological addiction
- physical addiction
- lack of self worth and self punishment
- cultural, societal and media based programming
- family traditions
- previous experience
- lack of education
- lack of support
- lack of strategies and tools to facilitate moving forward
- …and much more.
As you can see, this is why just saying we are going to change or stop an unhealthy habit is rarely enough. Here's how to actually change your habits for good:
Grab a pen and notebook or open a digital document – whatever you can keep handy to you most days.
Now write down the answers to the following questions for each unhealthy habit you have that you wish to change.
1. What unhealthy habit is holding me back from what I want to do, be, feel, look like?
2. Why doesn’t this habit work for me?
3. What justification do I tell myself now to allow me to continue with this habit?
4. Is this justification really true?
5. What is my new strategy for changing this unhealthy habit or bringing in a new healthy habit to replace it?
Here's an example:
1. What unhealthy habit is holding me back from what I want to do, be, feel, look like? I snack on nuts and chips after dinner.
2. Why doesn’t this habit work for me? I feel sluggish, heavy and fatigued. I can’t lose weight. I don’t sleep well as I eat too close to bed and I wake up tired so I don’t feel happy about the day in front of me.
3. What justification do I tell myself now to allow me to continue with this habit? I eat healthy meals for the rest of my meals so it’s not that bad. My partner eats these foods all day long so I should be able to have them once a day.
4. Is this justification really true? No, because I’m not getting the results I want so it can’t be OK for me. My partner is different to me and doesn’t have the same health goals as me so I see now that I can’t measure and justify my actions against his choices.
5. What is my new strategy for changing this unhealthy habit or bringing in a new healthy habit to replace it? I am no longer going to buy those foods. I will talk to my partner about keeping these foods at his work only. I will instead buy organic baked corn chips and eat them with vegetable crudités on nights when I really want something. I will also serve them on a plate in one serving size and eat them away from the TV so I’m not eating mindlessly.
Repeat this exercise for any unhealthy habits you have and keep referring back to what you have committed to. Get excited about the results you will achieve with these habits gone from your life!