10 Powerful Ways To Spring Clean Your Habits Right Now
Spring has sprung, which means trees and flowers are sprouting, the clock has gone forward by an hour, and you’re already looking forward to your summer holiday.
Spring is also a great time to take a broom to those old pesky habits you’ve always been meaning to change but never quite gotten around to. It’s OK. It happens to the best of us.
If you’re like me and have the best of intentions but little discipline, fear not! There is hope. I’ve compiled 10 of the best ways to overcome bad habits, replace them with new shiny good habits, and have a little fun in the process. So, without further ado, read on and become a better you!
The ol’ bait-and-switch! Identify a habit you wish to change and simply replace it with something else.
Now, bear in mind that you should swap out a habit you don’t like with one you do, and not just another bad habit. There’s some truth to the correlation between quitting smoking and gaining weight. It’s substitution alright, but not the kind that your body will thank you for long-term.
2. Squad Goals
We are social creatures at heart (despite what the old man from ‘Up’ tells us), and when it comes to kicking bad habits, having somebody around to cheer you on and complete a goal with you will make you more inclined to succeed. After all, disappointing yourself is one thing, but imagine the look on their faces… you get the picture!
Considered by some (me) to be the Internet’s Word of 2016, a simple yet powerful way to get rid of a bad habit is to identify what triggers it. When you learn how a bad habit starts, you are better equipped to identify it and self-correct.
4. The Three R’s
No, we aren’t talking about Reading, Riting, Rithmatic (hey, it worked for George Bush), this is Remind, Routine, Reward.
It may sound a little basic, but don’t underestimate the power of positive reinforcement. If you constantly remind yourself why you are changing a habit, make it a core part of your daily routine, and give yourself a little treat when you conquer the day, you’re well on your way to making your new habit stick!
Ditching a bad habit is the first step to becoming the new you. Right? Unless you’ve had a bad habit your whole life, then choosing to ditch it means your more likely getting back in touch with the real you. When you look at it that way, you don’t need to quit smoking, you just need to return to being a non-smoker. This leads us nicely on to number 6.
Some people are driven by desire of reward, and others are driven by fear of failure. It’s the carrot or the stick. You can control this on a macro level with the use of daily affirmations. Take time out of your day to remind yourself why you are making a change.
Look into a mirror, or find a quiet space, and repeat: I am making this change in my life because (insert your own reason here).
It’s important you include the because to cement in your mind the reason for making a change. It’s the affirmation, and it reinforces that image of you and alters your perception to get there!
7. Plan for Failure
This one is a doozy! Most people forget to realize that, well, we are people. That means we will all mess up from time-to-time. Even worse, we forget to account for those failures.
Imagine you’ve been working hard to avoid smoking. You go for a month without a cigarette. You’re feeling great. Then you get a piece of bad news, and you slip up. If you fail to plan for that, you could end up on 20 a day before you know it.
The most important thing you can do is to get back on the wagon, accept that you screwed up, and move forward. Don’t dwell!
Remember that mistakes happen, don’t be too hard on yourself or beat yourself up, and then let it go. Guilt is a powerful enemy to make, and a tricky opponent to beat. Plan for it. Embrace it. Learn from your mistakes. As Alan Partridge says; “You’ve got to bounce back”.
8. Stay Hydrated
What has water got to do with anything? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. There is a reason we are made up of 70% water, and a reason why when we don’t drink enough of it, our bodies let us know.
Our mental faculties (remember that the brain is a huge water guzzler) get dull if we don’t keep hydrated. That leads to making bad decisions, brain-fog, and lack of self-discipline. If this is a habit you need to change, thankfully it’s an easy one. There are apps which can prompt you to drink water regularly, and the side-effects are definitely worth it.
Not only will you find it easier to stick to your guns, but you’ll feel healthier, more active, mentally sharp, suffer less headaches, the list goes on.
9. Know the Truth
And the truth will set you free. At least that’s how the saying goes. The truth behind habits, why you do what you do, has nothing to do with willpower. It takes the same amount of willpower to do something good and new versus something you’ve already done many times.
What is the difference? Familiarity. It is a powerful, emotional, pull. Once you understand this, you can break free of familiarity. Actually you don’t need to put more effort — purely from a willpower perspective — into making a new decision. Emotionally it’s enticing to stay the same (it’s how the body works, a reward system for familiarity), but breaking it is as easy as making a decision to do something else.
10. Peer Pressure
Finally, a great way to change a habit is to tell your friends and family what you’re going to do. Once you manifest a change in the real world, you become conscious about appearances. You’ve told people, and now they expect you to follow through with your word. It’s a heck of a way to motivate yourself. Nobody wants to be That Guy (or Girl).