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Breaking Unhealthy Habits

Breaking Unhealthy Habits

No matter how many times you’ve tried in the past, there is still hope to make healthy, lasting changes in life

Breaking an unhealthy habit can at times feel like an impossible task. Your mind and body conspire against the change you are trying to introduce, and it feels like failure is inevitable. Perhaps you have even attempted to break this habit in the past and failed, and so already believe you are destined for failure. However, no matter how many times you’ve tried in the past, there is still hope for you or a loved one in Des Moines to make healthy, lasting changes in life by applying certain proven strategies.

Share Your Goal Publicly

Sharing your goal publicly is a powerful motivator for producing change, but you must consider your personality and the nature of the unhealthy habit when deciding how and with whom to do so. Certain personalities are more likely to allow shame to inhibit them from creating change if others respond with doubt or negativity. For the sensitive individual, sharing the goal to break the habit with a select few who will be encouraging is the better choice.

In the same way, an individual should be careful not to broadcast his intent to stop an unhealthy habit too widely if it there may be legal or occupational consequences for sharing the information. As a simple example, posting on Facebook your intent to stop using cocaine would not be the best choice. Nevertheless, making the goal known to a few trusted confidantes is extremely helpful.

Ask for Help

It is nearly impossible to produce significant life change without asking for the support of others. Asking friends, co-workers, and family to support your intentions to break your unhealthy habits is vital for several reasons. Asking for help provides some natural accountability as you progress toward success. Developing a core support team also creates some built in space for venting, confessing failures, and seeking encouragement when it feels like failure is inevitable.

Identify Replacement Activities

Typically, quitting an unhealthy habit and neglecting to replace it with a healthy habit is a recipe for failure. The loss of that habit continues to be felt and creates opportunities for that poor choice to reemerge. While this tactic is not effective for everyone, many find it is possible to entirely replace a bad habit with a healthier one. Some have even overcome a drug addiction by focusing on a personal exercise regimen. While this may not prove to be an effective approach for you to break your unhealthy habits, it will be a valuable concept to explore.

Identify and Celebrate Milestones Along the Way

A common, though unrealistic, response to making the initial decision to break a habit is to immediately expect to be able to do it “cold turkey.”. Instead, it is far more effective to set intermittent goals along the path to your eventual goal. For example, if your goal is to drop 50 pounds, set an intermediary goal of losing 10 pounds.

But setting the goal is not enough. You should also plan to celebrate it in an appropriate way, and decide the way to celebrate ahead of time. To continue with the same example, you could decide to celebrate losing ten pounds by doing something special for yourself, but that something should probably not be food-related.

Be Prepared for Failure, but Plan to Succeed

Failure will be a part of breaking the unhealthy habit. If you do not plan for failure, when it occurs you will find yourself shut down, demotivated, and unable to continue. Every significant shift in an individual’s life is a process. Some part of that process will be failure.

But, you can decide ahead of time that you will eventually succeed. You can visualize your life without this unhealthy habit. You can plan to push through failure and disappointment. You can assume success. This might be the single most powerful choice you can make when it comes to breaking a bad habit.

Seek Professional Help

In certain circumstances, an unhealthy habit is not something you can beat on your own. This is especially true if the “habit” you are trying to break is actually an addiction or a mental health condition. If you are continually trying and failing to break this type of habit, it may be time to seek professional help. The truth is no individual is always able to accurately assess his mental state. But understanding the value of employing a counselor and allowing her to support you through your recovery can be the difference between a successful recovery and a recurring state of addiction or unstable mental state.

Find Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Today

If you or a loved one in Des Moines is struggling to break a destructive habit, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about addiction and mental health conditions. They can help you find your way.