Surely by now more than one will have in sight on his list of New Year’s resolutions: getting in shape, quitting, reducing stress or losing weight (goal number one in the ranking of a large majority after these parties).
And as I have pointed out on many occasions the biggest problem so that you have not yet been able to achieve that change that would so much improve your health, resides in the habits. Habits, especially the bad ones, are not so easy to change, but we would not continue to sabotage our good yearly desires, whether to start exercising, eating healthy, simplifying life or being happier.
And how come our best intentions do not end up working?
We want to focus on what is important, be more productive, exercise and eat healthier foods, we want to quit smoking or manage our disorder, but we do not get it;
And the answer is something very simple, something that many people are not aware of: “We do not know how to deal with stress and boredom in a healthy way.”
The resistance to change resides in that these habits cover a fundamental need for us and it is the one already commented: these behaviors, conscious or unconscious, are useful to us to deal with our more limiting emotions.
You may find yourself identified with one of them:
- Browsing the internet postponing tasks
- Food and drink abuse
- Smoking or excessive drinking
- Stretch your working hours indefinitely
- Excessive television, addictive video games, smartphones, etc.
- Shopping Compulsive (debt / disorder)
- Accumulation of paperwork and financial disorder (tremendously stressful)
- Inactivity (not exercising is a technique to avoid stress)
- Eating your nails, unconsciously tightening your teeth…
The list is not complete but all these habits fill that great need, they are a generalized way to deal with stress or boredom. And in a way we generate them as mechanisms of survival, but, little by little, they take over us because we cannot find another way to deal with them.
What if we thought about replacing those behaviors and confronting those feelings in a healthier way?
We may thus be freed from the devastating symptoms that these bad habits cause in our lives and we begin to receive the benefits of change.
Habits that improve us
There is no single answer, but the new habits that we set up should be those that cause healthier results in our body and mind.
- Yoga / meditation
- Running, cycling, swimming
- Investing time playing with children / friends
- Creating, writing, listening to music, reading when we are bored
- Learn to enjoy being alone, instead of boring us
- Take a daily walk and enjoy nature
- Deal with the disorder by slowly starting to sort
- Take control of a situation
- Learning to be aware of our body tension / thoughts
- Know how to slow down and rest
- Learning to eat intuitively
- Learning to live in the present
Each of these new habits can help you cope with or prevent stress or boredom. If you replace bad habits with healthy ones you will have less disorder, less fat, less illness and you will feel happier.
Old habits do not disappear from day to day; we must learn to face them. We have been building them through years of repetition and the way to change them is not going to follow the same pattern.
How to correct them?
A first step is to realize that we carry out that behavior and that although we do not believe we are capable, there are other ways to deal with stress, loneliness or boredom. We have to be aware that there is stress and boredom in our lives and, instead of being frightened, realizes that they are easy problems to solve. We will learn that we can win the game and we will demonstrate it through the repetition of new habits.
If you have understood this point better, follow the usual steps to change a habit:
Choose one habit at a time
Start with something very small – just a minute or two if you want to keep it (one minute of push-ups, two minutes of jumping, and two minutes of ordering paperwork).
Use social motivation like Facebook, Twitter, Google (Giving accounts to others is something that can compel, keeps us in relationship and encourages to be better).
Be very aware of the triggers of your bad habit and repeat the new habit consciously every time you detect a trigger of the previous.
Enjoy the new habit. (Remember, it’s not about suffering, it’s about taking care of yourself to be better)
We can fight learning to breathe, to smile, to go little by little.
We can be humbled by these giants who crushed us in the past, and turn those old behaviors mere shooing mosquitoes end up with a simple smile.
Myself, I have been able to overcome more than one destructive habit in my life, and for that, I feel the responsibility of encouraging you today to plan it differently.