There's always a lot of talk at the beginning of a new year about setting new goals, creating new habits, saying "this year will be different". Yet many times, people are unable to follow through with their lofty ideals. I don't believe this is for lack of wanting or trying, but rather, a deeper issue of trying to create an identity shift without looking at the behaviors and beliefs that you're still holding onto.
Oftentimes, a bad habit is related to a deeper issue -- a limiting belief that is causing you to upper limit yourself, or as many call it, self-sabotage. You can't eliminate these bad habits until you dig deep to figure out what that limiting belief is. You have to recognize it, own it, and then be willing to release it.
This can be difficult, as all habits were created to benefit you in some way, even if it's also hurting you. There's a reason you picked up smoking -- to help you deal with stress, perhaps -- even though it's not good for you.
So how to do we combat all of this and make changes that will truly last? James Clear has some tips:
Substitute a bad habit with a good one. You need a plan. If the urge to check social media comes up, text a friend instead. Make a plan to get together.
Cut out as many triggers as possible. If you tend to binge eat when you consume alcohol, choose a mocktail instead.
Change your environment. If you check your phone first thing in the morning, put your phone in another room at night. Buy an old fashioned alarm clock instead.
Lean on your community. Want to start running in the morning? Find a running buddy to help hold you accountable.
Visualize. Want to be the kind of person who meal preps and always has healthy choices on hand? See yourself making the grocery list, going to the store, spending Sunday afternoon cooking while listening to your favorite music. See yourself crushing it, smiling, & enjoying your accomplishment. See yourself building a new identity.
Plan for failure. We all slip up every now and then. Don't beat yourself up over it. We are only human. The best thing you can do for yourself is do the next right thing. Just get back on track. Don't linger and agonize over your perceived "failure". Pick yourself up and continue on.
"So often we think that to break bad habits, we need to become an entirely new person. The truth is that you already have it in you to be someone without your bad habits. In fact, it's very unlikely that you had these bad habits all of your life. You don't need to quit smoking, you just need to return to being a non–smoker. You don't need to transform into a healthy person, you just need to return to being healthy. Even if it was years ago, you have already lived without this bad habit, which means you can most definitely do it again."