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  • Writer's pictureIlona Luff

How to Change/ Stop Bad Habits

Statistically about half adults make a New Year's resolution. Less than 8% of those people actually follow through on their plans. It has been found that it takes 6 years for average person after setting the same resolution each year to finally start taking action on it.

Any new behavioral change comes down to developing new set of habits. Think about it, the most of your actions you take daily are just the habits you've created throughout your life. This leads us to the next question: Why is it so hard to change and so easy to fall back to the old ways?

Your mind naturally gravitates to things it's familiar with. This way of how our mind works was absolutely necessary for our survival as a species thousands years ago. Survival is no longer a huge concern of ours nowadays, but we still kept that part of our brain responsible for driving our behaviors towards familiar things. This very process drives everything we do and how we do it on a subconscious level, making it hard for us to change old patterns.

Doing something new (even when it's beneficial for us) literally could mean death back in the day when we lived in caves. At that time even taking a new path through the woods could put us in danger.

Once we understand this concept about our brain it makes us aware of what stands in our way and how we can help ourselves to make a change and develop a new habit.

Let's take a look at the factors influencing your ability or inability change your habits.

Examine your excuses. You may have good reasons for not wanting to change, or they might be just excuses for not changing. Take a hard look at those reasons. Those reasons might be true or they may be an excuse blocking you from making some changes that could improve your health and enrich your life.

Be honest about the benefits or pleasures of bad habits. It helps to prepare you for possible feelings of self-pity or deprivation. These can undermine your efforts to change. Plan ways that your life can be full and enjoyable without keeping a bad habit.

Get committed! Without commitment new change isn't likely to last. Keep in mind that actions, thoughts and feelings influence each other. Even if you don't always feel like it, act as you believe in your ability to achieve your goal successfully.

Why wait for crisis? Most of the people that were able to change something got there after experiencing a dramatic event or life-changing illness. And they often wish they'd gotten around to those changes earlier.

Pay attention to the language you use in thinking around the change. For example, expressions like "I'll try" suggest that failure looms. Say "I do" or "I will" instead.

Don't be surprised if you lapse! Relapse is the common occurrence on the road to change. Don't blame yourself when you fall short. Setbacks are not a sign of failure. They are part of the very process of change. They provide an opportunity to learn. Many times you'll find yourself cycling through the stages of change several times before succeeding.

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