Monday, October 14, 2013

How to Break Bad Habits


Bad habits are behaviors which you engage in that do not nurture you physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. They undermine your efforts to be your best self and to live your best life.

Bad habits are sometimes referred to as addictive behaviors. You can easily identify serious addictions such as alcohol or substance abuse, but there are other addictions which can also be detrimental. They include mindless shopping, obsessive cleaning, excessive reading or TV watching, compulsive exercising, or repetitively engaging in poorly thought out relationships. A behavior is addictive when you use it to avoid dealing with something important in your life.

Sometimes you can engage in avoidant behavior, intentionally, to take your mind off a problem or to take a break. You might be a writer in a creative slump who decides to take a break for a few weeks and just have fun doing whatever comes to mind. That type of break can be energizing and you can return to writing ready to work and full of ideas. Addictions, however, aren’t energizing because they are escapes which serve no purpose and sap your energy.

If you find yourself getting into a bad habit that is interfering with your ability to reach your life goals, take some time to discover what you’re avoiding. Procrastination is always intentional. You are either avoiding something you don’t want to do or something which you don’t feel able to do.

When this occurs:

·         Consider what’s happening in your life that you feel unable to manage.

·         Make a list of the steps you could take to manage this situation.

·         Check off the items that feel overwhelming to you.

·         Identify the negative thoughts about yourself which prevent you from acting.

·         Decide if you need to ask for help, search for information, or talk out the problem with a trusted friend or maybe a mental health professional.

The key to making progress in breaking a bad habit and getting back on track with your goals is to do something. Take some action. Break the cycle of a bad habit by making the first step. One step leads to another and within a short period of time creates momentum which propels you forward.
Ellen Diana is a psychologist, author of the Lucky Dreamer Tip Series, and co-author of the Charge up Your Life series of self-help books. She has 30 years’ experience working with children, adults, couples, and families in schools and in private practice in Scottsdale, Arizona. Helping women to evolve into their best selves through personal growth and self-awareness is a passion of hers. Ellen raised three successful children as a single parent and so has special interests in mentoring other women in transition and helping parents to raise resilient children. Contact Ellen at or through her website

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