Monday, March 10, 2008

Kicking Bad Habits for Good

Habits acquired over the years can be unhealthy, sheer waste of time, utterly boring or unrewarding. They can reduce efficiency. Lower our life span. Make people love us less. Or push us to the brink of risking our lives.

But, they could also be good, healthy and positive. They could improve our efficiency. Help organize our lives better. Inculcate self-discipline.

A lot depends on whether the habit is good or bad. Something that’s done regularly over a long period of time turns into a habit. And when that happens it’s no longer in the realm of conscious acts. Habits exist independently in our subconscious. Which makes it all the more important for you to identify and work on the bad habits, or they could kill your time, reduce efficiently and stunt your personality.

Breaking your bad habit
Remember you weren’t born with a bad habit, you just acquired it over the years. So it’s something you can undo.

Drawing up a plan
Decide which bad habit you want to do away with first. Procrastination, back-biting, killing time before the TV, overeating, smoking or drinking. Take on one habit at a time. They are as tough as nails.

Visualization
Writing your intention on a piece of paper works like magic. That’s how most successful people have realized their dreams. When you put them on paper that’s commitment. Then you must visualize doing away with that bad habit. See yourself smoking fewer cigarettes. Attending to things immediately. Spending lesser time before boring serials. Eating healthily. This helps tremendously in your fight against bad habits.

Get family and friends to support you
Quitting a compulsive habit like smoking or drinking is tough. Not having the support of loved ones only worsens your resolve. Inform everyone of your resolve to throw a bad habit out of the window. Seek their support. They’ll only be too glad to lend it. Join alcoholics anonymous or a non-smokers club. Being amidst people who’ve benefited from losing a negative habit will motivate you.

Substitute with alternate activities
You can stop a bad habit in the butt only if can find a better activity to replace it. Let’s say you want to stop sitting in front of the television for long hours.

Can you do something more healthy and rewarding during that time. Maybe reading a book. Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, if you please. Or get into a routine of exercising. You’ll be a lot more healthier. Perhaps, an Evening Walker’s Club or polishing some unused skill of yours. Painting or playing the guitar. And why not join a computer class. Check the list below for some suggested alternates.

Overeating: Substitute with low calorie foods. Start exercising.
Drinking: Join Alcoholics Anonymous. Be with teetotalers. Spend time with family
Procrastinating: Reward yourself for work executed.
Backbiting: Say only good things about people. Keep away from those who encourage you to gossip, and instead team up with positive people.
Smoking: Chew gum. Join a non-smokers club. Enroll in a public speaking course.
Glued to TV: Enrol in an association. Join a Walker’s Club. Read books.

Reward yourself for small gains
After a week of disciplined effort to break a bad habit, give yourself a pat on the back. Go out for a movie. Treat yourself to a Chettinad dinner. Buy the long-delayed wrinkle free trousers. Perhaps, even a new haircut. It works magic on you. Rewards bring a smile on your face. They motivate you. They bring out that feeling of success. You need it.

Who dares wins
It’s been tough the last few weeks, but I’m sure you’ve satisfied with the headway. You no longer sit passively before the TV. Stopped postponing exercising. Have been regular to Alcoholics Anonymous. Feeling Good. Would you like to feel this way forever. You can do it NOW.