We are not perfect.
While some of us may have a better grip on our health and fitness, each and every one of us has something that we can improve upon. In fact, most of us are quick to acknowledge a bad habit or inclination that actively works against the progress that we seek to make in our health and fitness.
From a dangerous sweet tooth to an addiction to sodas, breaking bad eating patterns is tough and takes true will power, and there is no one solution or remedy in doing so. Some people will respond best to slowly weaning off of the late-night bowl of ice cream as opposed to cutting it out once and for all. Others will be most responsive to a clean break.
The same is true when it comes to incorporating more positive habits into our lives. For example, there are different ways that one could introduce a daily workout or normalize waking up at 6 a.m. each morning. For some, slowly incorporating each of these new, foreign behaviors into their routine will prove to be more sustainable than jumping into a large commitment and not looking back!
With that said, the first step for anyone who is seeking to break a bad habit is to better understand their personal behaviors and responsive tendencies. You can ask yourself the following questions:
Do I have an addictive personality?
Have I been successful in breaking a bad habit previously? If so, how did I do it? Was the process quick or composed of trial and error?
Have I been successful in introducing new, healthy habits into my life? If so, did I make the switch all at once or did it take time to fully adjust and adapt to the new behavior?
Once you have a moment to reflect on these probing questions, sift through your initial responses and try to detect a pattern. Are you someone who appreciates and reacts well to a clean break or are you most compatible with slowly weaning off or onto a new behavior?
With a specific remedy style in mind, you can now more finely tune your approach to becoming a healthier individual! Check out the process below that best suits your behavioral patterns and get on with ditching the soda and the unnecessary sweets. As they say, out with the old and in with the new!
Breaking a Bad Habit – Clean Break
1. Identify the habit that you would like to say goodbye to! View it in isolation. For example, instead of seeking to ditch all of the sweets at once, start with more a specific behavior and target only the sweets that you consume after 9 p.m.
2. If food is the issue, don’t buy it! Keeping something out of reach is the best way to establish a clean break from it. If this is not possible (maybe there are others in the house that like to indulge), put a note on the door of the fridge or pantry that will remind you of your new goal.
3. Find a substitute. Trying to steer clear of ice cream? No problem, make a sweet treat that will satisfy your craving without compromising your health. Avoiding soda? Try sparkling water whenever the urge for something bubbly arises.
4. Be flexible. While some bad habits are fine to go for good, others pose no harm in infrequent appearances. If you are battling something like ice cream or soda, know that breaking your habit is not synonymous with never eating the treat. A cup of soda or a bowl of ice cream every now and then will not kill you. It is important to be flexible and forgiving of yourself, just know when, how, and how much to “cheat” with.
Breaking a Bad Habit – Slow Switch
1. Identify the habit that you would like to say goodbye to! View it in isolation. For example, instead of seeking to ditch all of the sweets at once, start with a more specific behavior and target only the sweets that you consume after 9 p.m.
2. Identify how frequent this bad habit is. Playing with the ice cream example, maybe you indulge 4 to 5 nights a week and would like to totally eliminate this behavior.
3. Due to your preferred response being that of slowly weaning off of a behavior or tendency, it is crucial to look at your response as an ongoing process. In other words, your switch will not happen overnight! Create a target goal for the week that seems appropriate and attainable. Then, create a new target goal for the following week that is a slight improvement to the previous, and so forth until your habit is dissolved. It will look something like this:
Week 1: 3 nights of the week I can enjoy a bowl of ice cream
Week 2: 2 nights of the week I can enjoy a bowl of ice cream
Week 3: 1 night of the week I can enjoy a bowl of ice cream
Week 4: I will not eat ice cream after 9 p.m. this week
Bad habits are tough to break, but identifying them is the first step in the right direction! Sometimes, doing so is even more difficult when there is no one there to hold you accountable. Accountability health coaching is a style of coaching that prioritizes your personal growth by establishing standards for communication and accountability measures.