habitPhoto by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

7 ways to kick your bad habits

We all know WHY we need to kick bad habits…they keep you stuck, you feel crappy after indulging in them, you damage relationships….on and on the list goes. But exactly HOW do we kick our bad habits?

Here’s a list of some of the bad habits I used to indulge in (and yes, you do indulge): believing I was powerless in most situations, feeling sorry for myself, not being clear with boundaries and then blowing up at people, saying “yes” when I really wanted to say “no”, applying (and getting) jobs that didn’t align with who I am, food shopping but eating out anyway & sighing as food went off in my fridge….again, the list goes on. What bad habits are you indulging in? Could be as straightforward as over-drinking when you go out, or as complicated as repeatedly attracting abusive relationships.

Here’s how I kicked my bad habits:

  1. I got a coach. My very first coach was the first person to take a stand for my success. She didn’t put up with my sob stories, she called me out when I lacked integrity. She even got me to see the nonsense behind showing up late for our sessions (“you clearly don’t think you and your life plans are important”). The futility and lack of integrity that cloaks bad habits is shoved in your face when you work with a professional like this, who you’ve paid, to help you get the results you want. Getting a coach means you’re ready to kick your bad habits. Go you!
  2. I started finding new friends. We accept some bad habits when we indulge in a group setting. Some old friends you just stick with because they’re there. You’ve known each other for long, so…why not keep things going? But I regularly meet people who realise they’ve outgrown certain friends. To the point where it’s a drain hanging out with them. If this is you, time to get honest and let these relationships die a natural death — with thanks for what you gave and what you received. Step 2: start finding new friends. People who elevate you in some way, shape or form. And for whom you are happy to return the favour.
  3. I got honest about the kind of work I really wanted to do. Fact: it’s hard not to indulge in bad habits when you’re stressed out and unhappy at work. Some bad habits are simply a way to let off the steam. That bender on the weekend, the smoking… But what would happen if Monday to Friday you were in an ideal location, doing work you enjoyed, with people you respected? When I started my coaching business, things just shifted. Even sleeping in became a thing of the past. I felt light, inspired, challenged. I wanted to squeeze the most out of each day. It’s one reason I stopped drinking alcohol. The next day’s grogginess became too costly.
  4. I regularly started letting go of drainers. You’d be amazed how much time and energy you spend on engaging with drainers. Say goodbye to these people. Learn the lesson they came to teach you and then let.them.go. Drainers are actually a strategically placed distraction in your life. When you feel purposeful, the cost of allowing drainers to waste your time becomes obvious and unpalatable.You’ll feel energised as you continue letting go of the drainers in your life.
  5. I started prioritising the things I really wanted to do. Doing things out of duty and obligation is a drag. It builds resentment within you. I started saying “no” more often and “yes-to-me” more often. Again, the bad habits that lead to temporary relief stopped being a necessity. Saying “yes” to yourself is also a nice way of weeding out users in your life. Who in your life is happy for you when you’re happy? These are the keepers. I began to travel regularly, I started indulging in self-care (facials, massages, qi-gong…). Life became a joy. Exit bad habits.
  6. I deepened my relationship with God. No, I didn’t become more religious. I didn’t start going to church. I just found my own way of feeling connected to the force that is bigger than all of us. When I’m in nature, when I’m silent, when I listen to a remarkably produced piece of music (namely, Jazz), when I’m working with a client and listening to their unique & inspiring goals — I feel connected to God/Universe/Source — whatever you choose to call it. I feel supported. I know that there’s more to success than the strategies and tactics that my mind creates.
  7. I started having fun — unapologetically. The first fun job I had was a revelation. Going to work in jeans and still scoring goals taught me that being serious is not the only way to create results in life. Being relaxed around my team-members taught me that laughing often reminds us of our common humanity. And that’s not a bad thing in the workplace. I began encouraging my direct reports to live full lives outside of work. I didn’t want to be responsible for making people’s lives miserable. This way of being brings a certain pep to your step and another reason to kick a bad habit. You just don’t need it as your crutch anymore.

Got some bad habits that need to go? Make a decision today. Try the above (it doesn’t change overnight, but it does change with commitment and consistency) and let me know how you go.