Do you have a bad habit you would like to change? We all have “bad” habits that we would like to change. Here are some tips on how to change a bad habit:
- Instead of focusing on breaking a bad habit, think about creating a new good habit. For example, instead of “I will stop eating junk food”, try “I will eat healthy food that has nutrients for my body”.
- Make sure you give yourself enough time. Studies show that it can take anywhere from three weeks to six months to create a new habit.
- Break down big changes into small steps. For example, instead of saying “I will quit smoking”, start with a small step like “instead of smoking a cigarette after dinner I will play with my dog”.
- Don’t worry about being perfect. I like the 80% rule – practice 80% of your good habits 80% of the time. You are still creating good habits!
- Have a plan for setbacks. If plan A to change a habit doesn’t work, what is your plan B? plan C?
- Track success. How will you track your progress? Visual tracking aides can be a big help – photos, spreadsheets, etc.
- Get support. This might be the most important one. Coaches are great in this role – there are health coaches, weight coaches, life coaches, smoking cessation coaches. A friend or family member can be a coach but – beware – if you have a relationship with your coach it can get complicated quickly!
Live Mentally Healthy,
Dr. Jennie Byrne