Duchess Digest: Breaking Bad Habits
By Jill Brown
With New Years here many of us will be packing up our Christmas decorations and pulling out our new year’s resolutions this week. I have been thinking a lot about the year myself as many things in my life are changing right now and I’ve got some pretty big goals and intentions for the New Year. But if you’re anything like me the New Year can start out with a bang and quickly slip right back into those pesky bad habits we want to change.
Here are my top five tips that have helped me in breaking bad habits in the past that I use again and again to grow and become more easily, more comfortably and more consistently myself.
1) Jiminy Cricket! Take a few minutes to write down your value system and how you navigate the decisions in your life. Your very own moral compass or Jiminy Cricket. Now take another few moments to identify the ways in which you aren’t acting in accordance with that value system. Those moral discrepancies are pretty certain to be your bad habits. Mission accomplished on identifying what they are, now what?
2) Break it down Lady! So you’ve figured out your bad habits in general; now take a moment to break them down. What is the root of the problem with your bad habits? Is it overeating? Break it down. What is that really about? Is it about being tired? Lonely? Stressed? When you break it down you can figure out what the bad habit is actually covering up for –usually our bad habits are symptoms of our problems, not the problem itself. When you know what the core issue is you’re better prepared to treat the root, not pull at the leaves. Or as Groove Armada says, “You can cut your split ends, but you can’t cut your roots.” You have to pull out the problem from its root, not just cut it off. Breaking it down will help you really get at the core issue.
3) Hunger Strike the Issue! Now that you know the core issue from breaking down the bad habit – start starving the problem. You have a split decision to make in every situation; feed the bad habit or feed an alternative solution. If the problem is removing yourself from a dysfunctional relationship you have the choice to feed the dysfunction by answering his phone call, responding to his text or meeting him for a talk, or you have the option to starve the issue by not giving a toxic relationship any more time or space in your life. You can starve the bad habit and nourish a new habit that replaces this previously bad behavior. There are solutions; find which feeding patterns your inner-empowered woman needs to let go of the bad and replace it with the positive.
4) As Long as we’ve got Each Other! Remember the theme song from the sitcom Growing Pains? Well as Benjamin Franklin so wisely said, “That which pains, instructs.” It’s going to be a little painful in the beginning. It is. I’m here to tell you the truth and what’s normal. It’s going to feel a little uncomfortable, a little painful, and even a little scary. Don’t let your habits break you down! They’re called growing pains for a reason, they hurt a little, mostly because they’re new and you’re stretching and utilizing different “muscles” than you’ve used before. Stick with it! Consistency is the key and one day at a time will carry you through to your desired outcome.
5) One Day at a Time: 21 Times! The average habit takes twenty one days to totally form (or deconstruct, in the case of breaking bad). If you practice replacing and feeding the good habit over the bad for twenty one days, you’ll be cruising down easy street from that point forward. Have a “no-exceptions” policy to dealing with or participating in anything that would jeopardize your hard work. You’ll still have to work to make sure your new habits stick, but if you can push through the discomfort twenty-one times – you’ll be on the road to the new you in the New Year.
Jill Brown is a Los Angeles, California-based life coach and writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous and unique selves. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, traveler and health nut. When she isn’t writing or working on Duchess, Jill loves spending all her free time with her Labrador – Betty. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: www.theduchessguide.com
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