We all have them. Whether harmless yet irritating niggles like nail biting or swearing, or more serious afflictions like smoking and over eating, bad habits affect everyone. And if you've been doing it for a while, you're unwanted obsession is not going to be easy to shift.
But fear not, there's hope. By taking control of your mind, and understanding the thought processes that lead you to doing your bad habit, you can teach yourself to overcome it and carry on your life happier and healthier. Here are five ways to tackle that vice of yours:
Get to know your habit
To begin with it's important to get a grip of your habit and understand why you do it. Your habit will most likely have started because it rewarded you in some way, made you more comfortable, or made doing something easier.
Once you've begun using a certain action or substance to deal with a situation or emotion, your brain will create a habit-loop. When the same set of emotional circumstances occur your brain will trigger the response that worked before. This is where a bad habit is born.
Make a plan
Like with many things in life, creating a simple, detailed, and do-able plan is an excellent way of succeeding, and kicking bad habits is no different. Start with a goal but don't go overboard. Ambition is admirable, but make sure you stick to one goal at a time and that that goal is something you can feasibly do within a set amount of time.
Include a way measuring how successful or unsuccessful you're being. This could include setting targets or asking friends and family members for their support and feedback. If you're doing well this will act as a welcome pat on the back. And knowing you're struggling could be just the motivation you need to pull your socks up.
Relapsed? Make sure you review.
You're not perfect, you're going to make mistakes. Plan for failures and, most importantly, make sure you learn from them. If you find yourself in the midst of a relapse, or that bad habit begins creeping back in, find out why it did and adapt your plan to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Your brain is your greatest tool for beating your bad habit. It's important to visualise success throughout your attempt to beat it as this is your greatest motivation. Picture how much better you'll feel, how much happier you'll be once you've kicked your habit and don't let go of that picture. If you find yourself tempted, just remember why you're doing what you're doing.
Don't go-it alone
Of course some habits are easier than others, and some you'll be able to nail by yourself in a matter of weeks. But due to the nature of a lot of bad habits, and the fact that they're often deeply ingrained in your psyche as a coping mechanism, getting help from a professional can be the most effective way to accomplish your goals. This is by no means something you should be ashamed of.
Hypnotherapy uses techniques that help you relax and makes your subconscious mind more open to new ideas and suggestions. When combined with the tips above and your own willpower you could soon find yourself free from the grip of your bad habit. Beat it once and for all, find out if one of my accredited practitioners is near you here.