breaking bad habits

Bad habits can be hard to break

Bad habits can be hard to break

Most of us have some bad habits.  Kids and adults alike.  Smoking, nail biting, bad eating, thumb sucking, and watching too much television are among the most common habits. Some habits, like hair pulling, skin picking and binge eating are done secretly, due to shame or fear of being judged. Anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking or lose weight knows how hard it can be to change. Often even when we succeed, we go back to our old ways after a while.  But remember, you are not alone and most importantly help is available.

The most important and first step to change is to recognise there is a problem. It can be tempting to justify or understate the problem.  How many smokers tell themselves they enjoy a cigarette? Think about how much your bad habits are affecting you and your family. Think about how much better you would feel if you were totally in control of your own behaviours. Imagine your life if you were doing all the things you really wanted to do with your time.

If you have tried unsuccessfully to change, it can be tempting to resign yourself to the idea that nothing can be done. Despair and resignation is what bad habits thrive on. Do not lose hope. If you are getting stuck, it may be that you just need to learn some better techniques. You can’t expect to get the best out of yourself without some guidance. Just like any athlete, willpower alone is not enough- you need the right coach. A clinical psychologist is essentially a type of coach who can teach you evidence-based strategies to help you reach your goals.

Different types of therapies can work for different people, for different types of problems and across all ages, from kids to adults. Habit reversal techniques can work well for hair pulling (trichotillomania) and skin picking disorders. Behaviour modification and habit replacement techniques can be useful when you want to not just get rid of old habits, but start some new ones, such as exercise or weight loss. Some people respond well to cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), hypnosis or novel techniques, such as Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).  Sometimes medications can be used to help treat anxiety and depression, reduce cravings and urges.  Whatever the bad habit, there is help. 

It can take time, persistence and lots of hard work. The most important thing is to never stop trying and to not give up hope. If you are committed, there is always a way.   For help breaking bad habits or making good ones Contact Us.

article by Lydia Rigano