Thought I would share a few tips on how to break a bad habit. These should be helpful no matter what the habit is : smoking, eating to many sweets, biting your nails, or too much phone time.
- Open your journal and write down everything you LIKE about your habit. What is the pay off or benefit you receive from this habit? Did you just say nothing? I am sorry you are not being honest with yourself. If you didn’t get something out of it you would have quit already. Once you understand your pay off, you will be able to make some substitutions for your habit that are real and helpful. You may have heard of the idea of substitution before; like sucking on a straw or crewing gum to quit smoking. That would work well if you are smoking just to put something in your mouth, but I doubt that is the case. Let me share an example from my own life. I smoked. I smoked because I am a high energy person I needed a little sit down and relax in my day, I enjoyed going outside for a few minutes, the activity cleared my mind for the next thing in my schedule, and I believe the nicotine was calming for me. So the right substitution for me was to develop a tea drinking habit instead. I drink my tea sitting down doing nothing else but drinking tea. I take my tea outside. I drink tension tea for it’s calming affect. Worked like a charm. I’ll admit to a little struggle, but no relapse. My needs where being met.
- Don’t go into quitting expecting it to be hard. Just because it was for someone else doesn’t mean it will be for you. Just because you struggled and failed before doesn’t mean it will be like that this time. You are in a different place this time. My husband struggled to quit smoking several times. The last time he quit smoking by throwing his last half pack in the fireplace and didn’t struggle at all.
- Do expect yourself to slip. Because you might. If you do, just forgive yourself and get right back on track. Don’t fall back into your habit again for the rest of the day, a few days or weeks with the thought that you have to start all over any way. If you were walking down the street and tripped and fell, you would just get up and keep going. You wouldn’t go back to were you started walking and start again.
- Ask for support. Only if you need it. Ask someone who is truly supportive, kind, and will celebrate you. Don’t ask someone who will criticize and nag. You only need one or two people for support not a crowd.
- If you are struggling don’t go around telling everyone. People will validate you which will feel nice, but isn’t really helpful in breaking your habit. Letting everyone in on your plans may set you up for embarrassment and judgement if you slip. Stick to your support system.
- Be kind to yourself. Use encouraging self-talk. “I can do this!” Don’t punish yourself if you slip. No self-criticism or monetary fines. Be loving and caring.