By Jackie White
The Universe is big. I mean huge, no infinitely massive. I mean there is no word to adequately describe the Universe. It is glorious in all its wonder and mass and each day many of us are being drawn to a place I like to call the black hole of bad habits. I know you know what I mean. We have all been there.
We try to avoid it each year. We say this year I am not going to (fill in the blank with your most hated vice), but then we get pulled by a force that even Darth Vader would have a hard time dealing with. The force of bad habits sucks, no like, literally sucks all your good intentions out the door.
What exactly is it that has such a hold on us? Is it truly a black hole in the Universe? It feels like that sometimes, but that isn’t exactly it. Rather it is called...
--lack of motivation
--lack of self-discipline
--lack of skill
Nope. That’s what we think it is, but that is not what keeps us keeping to our bad habits. There are a few triggers to be aware of as you are trying to slay the bad habit, habit.
Stress: Stress tends to kick us into a survival mode of sorts. We choose to do the thing with the least resistance and that usually is going for the banquet of bad habits we have fed on over the years. Grabbing a cigarette or a bag of chips might comfort us for a time, but then may actually cause stress later because you were trying to quit smoking or chip eating and you went right back to that bad habit. The solution here is to actively manage your stress with positive things like exercise or meditation. These things will reduce stress and will help you avoid grabbing for the bad habit again.
Boredom: Sometimes when we are bored we look to those things that might spark a bit of excitement. We tend to idolize our bad habits in a way. For example, if you are bored you might think a great adventure would be to go out and get ice cream. The very ice cream you have been trying to quit because it has helped you gain weight over the last year. This one can be tricky because your social activities may be intertwined with your bad habit. You will need to be proactive to have a list of things that you can do to combat boredom that do not include your bad habits.
State Change: This is about needing to get up and do something different to either break the monotony of what you are doing or to interrupt what you are doing so to give yourself a break. These breaks often involve bad habits like eating, playing video games, or spending time on social media. State changes are often needed when working or doing a task you’d rather not be doing. Be aware of these times and add physical movement and stretching as solutions to changing your physiological state.
Environmental: These are triggers in your environment that can set off a domino effect of bad habits. Maybe it’s the bar you go to where you drink too much and eat crappy food. A person you over-shop with can be an invitation to spend too much money. The environment or a person within your environment will be calling your name to take part in your old routine. Avoid environmental triggers such as these and replace these bad habits with new activities and places that are stimulating but don’t fall into the bad habit category.
Mindlessness: People don’t think. It’s true, sorry. We get on auto-pilot and do the same dang thing over and over without thinking and then suddenly we have gained 20 pounds or we have accumulated so much junk in our house that it almost seems like it magically appeared. This just takes some self-discipline on your part, to train yourself to think about what you are doing and reduce the autopilot mode. Utilizing meditation and intention to start your day can help keep you on track with your mindfulness.
Habit breaking can be tough, but when you have a plan to combat each of the triggers intentionally you can avoid being sucked into the black hole of bad habits and rise by becoming a shining star! I feel like we should cue the Star Wars theme song here!
Go forth, be triumphant, and stop loving your bad habits and...
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.