How often do you procrastinate in the evening and end up watching trashy TV instead of doing something constructive? How much time do you spend on your phone and stress yourself out with unnecessary information? Mess about at work on Facebook instead of diving into something actually productive? Do too much work for others?
Many of us are guilty of the above and the issue is that habits are… well habitual. Due to repetition, they become very deeply ingrained not only in terms of the neural networks they form but also in terms of the other routines we build up around them. This makes them hard to break out of.
The thing to realise is that our routines that we develop over time act as triggers to our bad habits. The moment your boss leaves the office comes the temptation to open up non work-related tabs on your internet, or engage in chitchat with colleagues. By walking past the takeaway shop each day you are encouraged to go in and buy something. By snoozing your alarm each day reduces your ability to wake up.
Arguably the most effective way to break out of bad habits is by removing those triggers and associations. This can be done by changing your environment and your routines.
This is actually one of the reasons that drug and alcohol addicts go to rehab – because it takes them out of their usual environment thus removing the triggers of bad habits. We’re not suggesting that you’re an addict. Rather, the point that we are trying to make is that by going on a holiday or making a small change to your routine can help to adjust your environment and really make a difference!
Make it easier for yourself. When in the process of adjusting your habits and routines, you’re more likely to succeed if you make the new set-ups as easy as possible. For example, if you want to quit smoking then you should remove temptations by hanging out in smoking areas less.
Likewise, if your aim is to be more focused at work, block distractions such as Facebook using a restricting app. If you want to go to the gym regularly, then join a nearby gym and get your kit ready the night before.
You may also benefit by being vocal about your goals. That way others can make life easier for you also. Set yourself up for victory and ideally it should be easier to cut out bad habits!
For more information on how Counselling, Therapy and our Workshops could help you improve your life, contact us at Birmingham Counselling Services on 0121 314 9903 or via the Contact page of this website.