Habits can make or break a person.

They train your body and mind over time to do what’s familiar, even if it’s not good for you.

Why does this occur? 

Because your brain wants to optimize its energy use as much as possible. If you relearned your whole morning routine every day, you’d be exhausted by noon!

Your body and mind learn what to do over time. How you behave today affects the trajectory of your future—for the better or for the worst. 

Looming bad habits that creep into our everyday lives are usually caused by a few things. 

Sometimes, the perceived benefit is biological, like smoking. Sometimes, it’s emotional—like staying in a relationship that isn’t good for you. And in most cases, your habit can be the result of stress and boredom (think clenching your jaw, biting your nails, or stress eating).

Do you struggle with forming good habits? If you’re a human being, then the answer is probably YES.

Bad habits restrict your life and stop you from accomplishing your goals. They threaten your mental and physical health and waste your time and energy.

Have a bad habit you need to kick? Below are some behavioral tips to help you get rid of the habit once and for all, while retraining your mind to make better decisions: 

  • Tip #1: Don’t remove a bad habit, replace it. Since bad habits provide some sort of perceived benefit in your life, it can be difficult to remove them altogether. Instead of eliminating it, replace the habit with something that also provides a benefit.
    Need to stop eating late at night? Determine a different activity you’ll do when the urge comes. This could be replaced with calming breathing exercises, hydrating by drinking some water, or picking a fun exercise to do for one minute.
    • Tip #2: Cut out triggers. If you eat cookies when they’re in the house, throw out the cookies. If you pick up the remote when you sit on the couch, hide the remote in a different room. Make it easier on yourself to avoid bad habits by avoiding what causes them.
      Your current environment makes your bad habits easier and your good ones harder. Change your environment and the outcome changes, too.
      • Tip #3: Visualize success. Success starts in the mind, and the power of visualization is extremely useful. What will it feel like when you step on the scale and see the number decrease? Where will you be? What will you look like? 
        Visualize yourself eating healthy foods, throwing away cigarettes, or waking up early to exercise. See yourself breaking your bad habit with a smile on your face, while enjoying your much-deserved success. 
        • Tip #4: Use the word “but” to conquer negative self-talk. It’s easy to judge yourself for not acting better, but the reality is that we all slip up every now and then. If you make a mistake, change what you tell yourself. For example:
            • I’m overweight and out of shape, but I could be in shape a few months from now.

            • I'm a failure, but we all fail at times. 
        If you screw up and eat unhealthy foods or miss a workout, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person—it means you’re a human. Be kind to yourself.
        • Tip #5: Join forces. How often do we try and hide our dieting or simply not share our progress with others? That way, no one can see us mess up...right? Having accountability keeps you on track, and there’s nothing wrong with needing it!
          Instead of doing it alone, pair up with someone who can keep you accountable, or have a Ketality health coach keep you focused on your goals. Your victories will be shared, and you’ll have a powerful motivator in knowing that someone else expects you to do better.

          If you’re looking to lose weight, replace bad habits, and create a healthier lifestyle, then schedule a FREE virtual consultation with an expert Ketality health coach to get you started on the accountability you deserve.

          Remember, every action you take is a vote for the kind of person you become.

          What kind of person do you want to be? 

          March 11, 2021 — Dr. Jason Olafsson