Once you embrace the process of replacing bad habits with good ones, the rewards you reap will be enormous and lifelong. This journey can literally transform the way you live your life.
It doesn’t matter how long you have had your bad habits. They could be something you are doing since childhood, such as lying or biting your fingernails. As long as you are able to recognize that the habit is destructive and genuinely want to convert it into something positive, you can change any bad habit into a good habit.
We all have bad habits. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Pope or George Clooney, the Dalai Lama or the Archbishop of Canterbury. People are human, they occasionally make mistakes, and these mistakes can often develop into bad habits.
The problem isn’t that you have bad habits. That’s normal. What’s causing you unhappiness and psychologic pain is that up to this point you have been unwilling to make a genuine commitment to change.
You truly can do anything you want, if you put your mind to it. The human willpower is untamable and the changes that lie ahead are going to amaze you. It only takes the will to do it.
21 Days To Change
You may have heard before that it takes 21 days to change a habit. That’s the main reason why residential rehab centers for drug and alcohol abuse usually last 21 days. It takes three weeks for the body to flush out the toxic substances that it is addicted to. This is also the time span for the mind to eliminate the toxic negative thoughts that cause it to cling to bad habits so your mind can replace them with positive ones.
Three weeks or a month is a good timeframe to work with when you want to change your habits, because it corresponds with our calendar system. If you target the first day of the month for the start of a habit change, then it’s a simple matter to use that specific month as your framework to work on your desired goal. (I’m going to get this done by week 1, that done by week 2… and so on.)
Not every bad habit requires these 21 days to change. Some will take longer, some will take less time. For example, if your is to wake up a half hour earlier each day so you can make your mornings more productive, you probably can make this happen within a week to 10 days.
Habits that go deeper into your character can take months or even years to fully achieve, such as being more friendly to your spouse, becoming a more spiritually centered person, or losing that extra weight that is making you obese and out of shape.
Creating A Fresh Start
Everyone has experienced the frustration and feelings of helplessness that come with having bad habits. No exceptions here. When you are doing something you know is bad for you, but you do it anyway, it can cause a psychological pain that can effect your self-esteem.
At the same time, bad habits can always be overcome, as long as you are persistant and apply the right strategies, which will be outlined below.
When Habits Control And Ruin Your Life
Every bad habit can be damaging to your physical and/or mental health, but some are more serious than others. While biting your fingernails may not be particularly healthy or sanitary, it probably is not going to kill you. Taking drugs or alcohol, or eating fast food every day eventually will.
Fact is that making bad decisions almost always leads to making more bad decisions. Even the most harmless poor decision can sometimes lead to downward sprial that leaves you wondering what just happened. Even the smallest bad decision can have profound negative effects on the rest of your life.
Cheating on your taxes, for example, can lead to ’rounding up’ on your hourly timesheet, which can lead to ‘borrowing’ from your company’s cash fund, which can lead to changing the financial books so that additional funds are diverted into your private accounts. You’ve now graduated from a tax cheat into an embezzler!
The Will To Choose
Keep in mind that you always have a choise. Even the most degenerate, emaciated, drug-addled street junkie, or someone having 400 lbs overweight with diabetes, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, can make the decision to turn their life around. That is one of the gifts of being a rational thinking human.
Thanks to our ability to reason, only humans have the ability to end bad habits and convert them into good ones, and it’s never too late. All it requires is the will to choose and being brave enough to make positive changes in your life. That very first step is the hardest part, the rest is easy as you will discover soon.
Once you cross the Rubicon and decide to make a positive change in your life, all you need to do is to follow the process, and you can achieve your goals within whatever timeline you choose.
Goal setting is when you apply realistic expectations to your desired outcome. You need to develop practical, concrete goals that you can follow along the way that ultimately lead to good habits and a better, happier and healthier life.
None of this happens in a vacuum. Any bad habit you have is yours, and yours alone. Blaming other people or situations for your bad habit will do nothing to you overcome them. Maybe your father and mother were not responsible parents. Maybe your husband or wife is indifferent to you sexually. Maybe you were bullied at school. So what?
While these things may have contributed to your bad habits, they aren’t going to help you overcome them. In fact, any uwillingness to accept responsibility for your bad habits will ultimately sabotage your efforts and prevent you from achieving your goal.
Two key factors that separate those people who can successfully change their lives, and those who are destined to continually repeat the same mistakes, are honesty and maturity.
Search For Answers
In the same way you alone are responsible for your own bad habits, in nearly every instance, you alone lack the power to overcome your bad habits entirely by yourself. Eventually you are going to require the help of other people in some way or form.
When we are struggling with personal problems that are consequences of our bad habits, there’s a tendency to circle the wagons and try to take care of things on your own. This is a really bad idea.
Perhaps, it’s ironic that you are responsible for your own bad habits but you need the help of others in order to make things better. Whether it’s in the form of health care, nursing, coaching, support or just information from books or websites, seeking out and getting the answers and help that you need is an essential step in your healing process.
If this articles triggered you to start changing a bad habit, you will going to experience a lot of changes in the next 21 days. Not all of these changes will be in your ‘comfort zone’. You may be accustomed to being completely self-sufficient and prefer to work on fixing your own problems entirely independantly of anybody else.
In the words of Dr. Phil “How is that working out for you?”