Habits (good or bad) are patterns of behaviour that are regularly repeated, often on a daily basis. They tend to occur without much thought and over time become routine, a part of life.

Bad habits however, are often undesirable and unwanted, and can often get in the way of leading a life that is filled with good health and wellbeing. Some examples include:

  • eating junk food
  • spending too much time online
  • over spending
  • procrastinating
  • leaving work late

Some habits, depending on what they are, can also lead to a lifetime of addiction. Addition is more complicated, and often includes a physiological component – a chemical dependence on the brain. Some examples include:

  • drinking
  • smoking
  • gambling
  • drug use

Are you aware of your habits? Do they have a positive or negative influence on your health and wellbeing? Have your bad habits become addictions?

If you would you like to improve your habits, and overall health and wellbeing, the following tips can help:

1. Become aware of your bad habits

What is it exactly that you would like to change? How does it currently influence your health and wellbeing? How would your life to be different if you were to make a positive change?

2. Commit to change and identify your triggers

Make the decision to change your habit and start identifying your triggers. Reflect on what else you could do instead. Could the poor habit for example, be replaced with a more positive one, such as going for a short walk, rather than purchasing take away food when you’re not hungry?

3. Put some effective and realistic strategies in place

Plan ahead and put into practice some practical strategies that will work for you. If you feel overwhelmed, start by taking one small step towards positive change and build from there.

4. Don’t give up

If you’ve tried and slipped up, and your desire to change remains strong, try again. Learn from your previous experiences and start again. Relapse is a normal part of the behaviour change process, but how you handle relapse is more important than whether it happens or not… Stay positive that you can make the change and that you will be successful.

5. Reward yourself

Acknowledge the progress you’ve made so far and treat yourself on a regular basis. Depending on the habit that you’re trying to change, this could include a massage, a visit to the movies – Gold Class style, a nice meal with the family, or possibly jut purchasing a beautiful bunch of flowers to brighten your home.

6. Seek support

When the going gets tough, speak to your loved ones or seek professional help. If you’re habit has turned into an addiction, do speak to your doctor, a counsellor or psychologist and do get the help that you deserve to live a life that is healthy and happy.

There are many people who have successfully overcome their bad habits (and addictions). Make the decision that is right for you, put some practical strategies in place, reward yourself often, and you too can be successful.

Until next time wishing you all great health and wellbeing, including freedom from those undesirable habits!

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