Habits are daily routines and activities that you perform automatically and with very little effort. For example, each morning when you wake up, you may perform a particular routine or on the same day of the week, you may visit your favorite restaurant or have coffee with a friend.
Habits also include how and what we eat, smoking, going to bed at a certain time, and can also be things like how we react to certain situations and even how we take care of ourselves. These habits are performed almost robotically, with little effort or thought.
Habits can be beneficial in many ways. They also have the potential to be detrimental. I’m sure that we all want to avoid bad habits and only develop good ones.
But how do you know if a habit is bad? Fortunately, there are several signs that can help you in determine if your habit is bad.
Does Your Habit Only Appear During Times of Stress?
Some habits only seem to appear during the most stressful times of the day, or during the most intense periods of life. This can be a big red flag, signaling a bad habit.
According to the American Physiological Association, stress causes the body to produce epinephrine and cortisol, known as stress hormones. These hormones can put the body into a flight-or-fight response.
During flight-or-fight responses, you may engage in certain habits in an attempt to reduce your stress. This can include over-eating, eating bad foods, becoming inactive, or smoking. Whatever the habit is, if you only notice it during times of stress, it is more than likely a bad habit.
Does Your Habit Cause Pain?
Pain is always an indicator of something important. It’s a way that your body communicates to you. Therefore, when your habit involves some form of pain, either physical or emotional, you should ask yourself, “what is this pain indicating to me?" It’s quite possible that the pain is indicating that this habit is harmful and bad for you.
You don’t need to be fearful of pain in general. The pain that comes from stepping on a piece of glass is good. It communicates to you that you should avoid a harmful situation. However, habits can cause repetitive pain that can have a lasting effect both physically and emotionally. When you identify what pain is communicating to you, you can recognize a bad habit.
Do You Need to Defend Your Habits?
Most of the time bad habits produce their own self-incriminating evidence. When you find yourself trying to explain away a habit, you can bet that this is a bad habit that you know you should not engage in. So, when you find yourself trying to convince yourself or others that something only seems to be bad, but is actually good, you can be reasonably sure that this particular habit is not in your best interest.
Does Your Habit Leave You with Regret?
When looking back on a certain activity do you regret doing it? Do you wish you had done something differently? This type of feeling can indicate that you are engaging in bad habits. Your good habits don’t leave you with a sense of regret.
We are what we do, and habits are at the root of what we do. Being able to identify your bad habits can be a critical aspect in your self-development. Don’t overlook the signs of bad habits, and make sure to identify and acknowledge them so that you can eliminate them and be the best person you were made to be.
It starts with sleep!!
Now "Why can't I stop that bad habit?"
“I’m so thrilled I still have that bad habit I have been trying to get rid of” Said no one ever!
Everyone struggles with bad habits. Maybe your bad habit is newly developed or maybe your bad habit has been around so long that it has its own address. Either way, you have probably tried to get rid of it a time or two.
So why is it still here? Why Can’t You Stop That Bad Habit? There may be several reasons
Same Input = Same Result
Often, the reason why your bad habits are still around is because you continue to try the same things. You come up with a plan to get rid of your bad habit, try it, and fail. When you finally get motivated to tackle this bad habit again, what do you do? You try the same plan that previously failed and shockingly the same results occurring again.
You can’t keep trying the same things and then suddenly expect a different result. This is the definition of insanity. Instead, evaluate your plan and identify what worked and what didn’t work.
Toss out what was not effective and build off what was. You may need to repeat this process a few times before success is finally achieve. That OK, there is not rush, just remember that the secret is in the variation.
If you are brave enough to peel back all the layers of your bad habit, you most likely will find that you enjoy your habit. You enjoy it because you are getting something out of it. There is a reward for your bad habit.
This is true even for our bad habits. Yes, even those things you know are bad for you, if you dig deep you will find that you get something out if it. But there is good news! When you can identify what you are getting out of that habit, you can satisfy that craving in another way.
You Don’t Believe It’s Bad
You might be trying to change your bad habit because you are feeling outside pressure to change what others are considering bad. When in reality, you just don’t see it the same way.
If you don’t truly believe this habit is bad and is something that you want to change, you won’t change it. Changing your habits is hard, gritty, and dedicated work. If you are only changing it because others think it is bad, but you deep down don’t agree, then you will certain have a hard time with change.
Be honest with yourself and truly investigate if you believe this is a bad habit that needs to be change or is this something that others have told you needs to change. Change occurs with “I should,” but rarely does with “you should.”
Not Ready To Give It Up
If you are not truly ready for change, then you are just wasting your time. Maybe you are engaging in the process of change for several different reasons, but none of them are because you want to.
If you are not ready to give up your bad habit you never will. You may have decided that you want change, but do you want it now. Is now that time that you want change. When you are investigating this question, you may conclude that you want change, but just not at this time.
You may want change at a different time.
That’s OK, wait until you are ready.
Don’t Burn the Popcorn
When the time is right to finally change your bad habit, you might have the tendency to go full blast with changing. You try and change your huge, lengthy, and well engrained habit in one large swoop. What you really end up doing is burning the popcorn.
Think about making a bag of popcorn in the microwave. If you don’t put the timer on for long enough the popcorn will not pop. But, if you put the timer on for too long, the popcorn will burn. This is what we most typically do when trying to change bad habits.
Going out of the gaits too strong can often cause you to crash and burn on your attempt to change your bad habit. A few burns and soon you are no longer even trying to change.
Instead, divide the process of change into smaller steps that are spread out over an appropriate length of time. These smaller steps allow the popcorn to get just enough heat to pop correctly.
This Isn’t Hollywood LOL
There are many reasons why you can’t stop that bad habit and you should strive for change. But cut yourself some slack. This is hard work and it’s not like the moves.
Give yourself the time and space to properly identify the reasons why you can’t break your bad habit. When you allow yourself, the ability do it properly you will finally get your story book ending.
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Suzanne is a certified holistic life and business coach, positive psychology practitioner, author, speaker and total comedian.
After careers in the dental field, then building a 7 figure retail chain and developing businesses retail... Finding passion in aromatherapy, nutrition and fitness but then burning out, Suzanne decided it was time to follow her heart and create the life she truly desired, with a business that enables her to work on her terms, follow her passions and help high-level clients to gain the clarity, connection and power to access and step into their full potential with maximum health and limitless energy.
In less than 5 years Suzanne created a dream mentoring practice, while raising her son and spending more time doing the things she loves. Now guiding others to consciously create the success and fulfillment they dream of. Suzanne is currently based in USA, New Jersey but travels often for business and pleasure. When not running her business Suzanne often will be mixing and blending essential oils or creating magic in the kitchen, and she enjoys being outdoors and in nature in her spare time, paddle-boarding, biking and on adventures with her family.
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