Habits are powerful forces in our lives – powerful enough to shape our days, weeks, and even years. Sometimes habits can be helpful; other times, not so much. Not only can bad habits make us feel stuck in a rut, but they can also significantly impact our physical and mental well-being.
In this blog post, we’ll explore eight hard habits to break and how you can take steps toward lasting behavioral change. Read on for expert guidance on taking back control of your life and breaking free from challenging habits.
Procrastination is an incredibly pervasive and notoriously difficult-to-overcome habit. It can prevent us from accomplishing our goals, hamstring our progress, and thwart success. It undermines our productivity, efficiency, and focus, yet it can feel almost irresistible at times – partly due to inattention to planning, compartmentalization of tasks, or general procrastinatory tendencies.
To break the cycle of procrastinating, we need to recognize its presence and consider why it arises for us. Once we’ve identified these triggers, we can use them to structure our time better and be aware of any underlying external factors causing procrastination in the first place. We can eventually make a dent in this hard habit with practice and by keeping ourselves motivated with goals and rewards.
2. Stress Eating
Stress eating is an unfortunately common problem for those prone to emotional eating. This can be a complex cycle to break, as stress is the biggest trigger of over-eating and comfort food cravings. With no apparent source of relief available, many people find themselves in a seemingly endless cycle of bad habits and a lack of motivation to make changes.
Fortunately, with the proper support and guidance, it is possible to form healthier coping mechanisms and slowly chip away at the hard habit of stress eating. It’s important to remember that progress is rarely linear – taking small steps forward is often better than not making progress at all!
3. Overthinking Everything
Overthinking is a habit that can be difficult to break, especially when faced with an uncertain situation. Engaging in this behavior can often lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety as the mind tries to make sense of things that can be unresolvable.
It is essential to realize that worrying about the unknown does not provide productive solutions. While overthinking can seem like an instinctual response to stress, some strategies may help break the habit.
Practicing mindfulness or spending time in nature has been known to relieve mental obsession and allow individuals to move forward productively. It is essential to remember that while overthinking can come naturally, it does nothing more than keep us from living our best lives.
4. Teeth Grinding or Jaw Clenching
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a tough habit to break. Often caused by stress and anxiety, teeth grinding can lead to serious oral health problems if left untreated.
According to Dr. Nandita Lilly, one of NewMouth’s in-house resident dentists, “the primary goals of treating bruxism are to alleviate pain, prevent tooth damage, and improve sleep.”
In cases where bruxism has caused extensive damage to the teeth or jaw muscles, patients must consult a dentist for help. A sleep study may also be necessary to determine if any underlying airway issues need attention.
It is possible for individuals suffering from bruxism to break the habit with lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine late in the day and practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises. In more extreme cases, dental appliances and mouth guards may be necessary to protect the teeth from further damage while sleeping.
5. Negative Self-Talk
Negative self-talk can manifest in many ways, from belittling ourselves for our mistakes to constantly ruminating on our perceived flaws and shortcomings. One of the best ways to overcome this habit is by practicing positive affirmations. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Eventually, they will become more automatic.
Additionally, it can be beneficial to recognize negative self-talk patterns as they occur to combat them better. Remember that we are all human and imperfect. Allowing ourselves to accept our mistakes and move past them can help us break the habit of negative self-talk.
Perfectionism is a hard habit to break due to its insidious nature. It can often entangle us in a cycle of never-ending rumination and stress, convincing us that only excellence yields positive results. As perfectionists, it can be easy to forget how to apply the necessary amounts of self-compassion and grace when we don’t hit our impossible standards or take ourselves too seriously.
The realization that breakthroughs come from releasing our grip on perfectionism, admitting there are imperfect but successful outcomes, and taking risks to reach them can be difficult.
When perfectionism has become an ingrained habit, breaking free from this thought pattern requires strong willpower and dedicated effort – something you can achieve if you take it one day at a time.
7. Avoiding Confrontation
Avoiding confrontation can seem like a suitable way of resolving an issue; however, expressing yourself and your opinions in a balanced and measured manner is vitally important when needed. Difficult conversations, while often uncomfortable, are essential for handling relationships with our peers—both professional and personal.
By avoiding these conversations, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to grow as individuals and create understanding within relationships that could last without troublesome issues arising. Taking on difficult conversations is not only necessary but will also help in forming positive connections.
8. Impulsive Shopping/Spending
If impulsive shopping and spending have become a regular part of your life, forming new habits to avoid it will take commitment and dedication. Avoiding impulsive purchases can begin by becoming more aware of triggers that lead you to buy things impulsively.
Financial knowledge also plays an important role, such as knowing your monthly budget, being aware of the prices of different products, and understanding the difference between desire and necessity. These behaviors can become routine with practice and help cultivate healthy habits when approaching spending decisions.
Working with a certified financial counselor or utilizing the support systems provided in certain organizations can serve as additional resources for creating helpful practices around money management.
In conclusion, breaking free from unhealthy habits requires dedication and a willingness to confront difficult conversations and emotions. It also helps to have an understanding of the fact that perfectionism isn’t always needed for us to reach our goals. With an open mind and dedication, we can begin to break free from unhealthy habits and create positive changes in our lives.