We all have habits, in fact, it’s human nature to habitually go to the same places, eat the same foods and even think the same thoughts. Our regular behaviors affect our lives and the lives of those around us, but what happens when our conduct directly or indirectly harms us or others?
Unhealthy habits can include food, things we consume, activities, purchases, relationships and more. And while we know that many things in life are OK in moderation, we still want to make the healthiest and smartest choices possible.
Here’s how to spot harmful habits and change course!
What are Unhealthy Habits?
Most of the time, our not-so-healthy behaviors startup due to stress or boredom. Many people choose shopping, food, drinking or other activities as ways to “let go” and relieve stress, but if your lifestyle begins to cause health, wellness or money issues, it may be time to rethink it. Some of the reasons we develop destructive behaviors have to do with our need for social acceptance, our inability to comprehend the risk of the behavior or habit, a genetic predisposition to addiction or simply rebelliousness.
Humankind has been fighting off addictive habits for, well, forever. Over ten years ago, a study done by scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that avoidable behaviors like smoking cigarettes, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet and lack physical activity were an underlying cause of half of the deaths in the United States. Half! Your health is wealth people.
So, how and when should you put a stop to behaviors that are no longer serving you and your wellness goals?
You can start by tracking or journaling the activities and vices you take part in daily. Think, or write about how they make you feel and if they are contributing to your health. If the answer is no, look for a healthier option to replace what you’re letting go of. For instance, if you eat a donut for breakfast every morning and find that the sugar rush makes you hyper and unable to concentrate, try switching to a healthier option, like a scramble or protein-rich food.
We’re all different, and a healthy habit for one person may be unhealthy for another. Take procrastination, for example, one may find that waiting until the last minute to complete a task leaves them feeling frazzled and unable to do their best work. Others may feel that waiting until crunch time to complete the same task pushes them to get it done and allows for creativity to flow. Again, when trying to decide if a habit is healthy analyze how it affects you, makes you feel and if it improves your quality of your life.
Start by setting a goal and getting super specific with it. Then, list the steps you think you should take to get there and post it up somewhere you look every day. Feeling the urge to participate in a not-so-healthy activity? Look at your list. Next, write down a few reasons why you are letting go of that habit and move on. Lastly, stay positive. Letting go of something we’ve been holding onto can be hard, no matter how bad it is for us. Be kind to yourself and know that your wellness is worth it!
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