With the first month of the New Year wrapping up, taking a moment to reflect on how you’ve started off the new decade is a good idea. You may recall a post we did a few weeks ago on how to stick to your New Year’s resolutions. While the SMART goals method helps with identifying your goals, it’s important to understand that changes take time. It’s around this time of year where people may not be satisfied with their progress and may give up on their goals entirely.
Being patient and compassionate to yourself is important when making long term behavioural changes. You may have heard the saying ‘it takes 21 days to break a habit’. Unfortunately, behaviour change isn’t quite as simple as that. Behaviour change is a result of an individuals’ personality, environment, and motivations. This is unique to every person.
If you need some help on how to break those bad habits, here are some tips:
- Take it slow. It’s really easy to say that you’re going to quit overnight, but setting such high expectations for yourself may lead you to failure. It’s ok to do it one step at a time. Take a moment to think about how you’re going to break down the habit into steps. Make them realistic! For example, if you’re trying to cut back on caffeine intake, try slowly cutting down the number of drinks you have. If you usually have 3+ cups a day, try slowly decreasing the number over weeks, rather than just saying you’ll stop right away that day.
- Use a replacement habit. Find something to do instead of the habit you’re trying to kick. Make sure that the new habit isn’t harmful, or more harmful than the initial habit. For example, if you want to try and cut back on your caffeine intake, try drinking tea instead!
- Understand that you may have some setbacks. This is probably the biggest tip that we can give you. Making the decision to change a bad habit is something worthy of celebration in itself. Remember that when you find yourself struggling to avoid the habit, sometimes you may cave and get yourself that one coffee. It’s ok. Keep at it!
Change is hard, and we get that. Remember that habit change is a journey that helps you improve yourself. Be patient and gentle with yourself. We believe in you, Warriors!