It’s time to break bad habits

Habits.

They can be good or bad. They can set you back, or move you forward, or leave you exactly where you are.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is to break the ones we have, or more importantly start new ones. The first step is recognizing the patterns of our lives, and how we choose to spend our time. The next step is to make the hard calls about which habits are the ones to feed and which ones to starve.

Some “bad” habits serve us for a while, but we need to know when to pack them away. Take my world for example. I’ll be the first to say that all is not right in the state of Denmark. I have fallen into some bad habits to get through a temporary slump. I need to be distracted and numbed.

For distraction, I am in a Netflix binge-watching rut. I’m also spending too much time on social media, and have downloaded too many games onto my phone. The best way to be fully distracted is to watch Neflix at the same time as playing games on my phone to ensure that I am not thinking about what I don’t want to think about – basically to not think at all. It’s becoming an addiction. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I was watching something educational or redeeming on Netflix, or was using my phone for something productive, but I’m not. Are there shows I could be watching that would be a better use of my time?

Suffice it to say that I don’t want any of my distraction from life or my sense-numbing habits to be ones that my children learn from me.

My list of spare time activities  used to include some form of exercise (mountain biking, walking, jogging, skiing, hiking, yoga, weightlifting), playing a board or card game, cooking, planning my next trip, volunteering, reading a book, working on a hobby, visiting with friends or family, and even meditation. I still do many of these, but not as much as I’d like.

I’ve forsaken the beautiful trails right outside my door, in favour of the couch? I know I can do better, be better, but perhaps it’s simply because I don’t feel well, and maybe I’m not ready to feel better, so these bad habits serve my pity party. Writing this means I’m probably closer to being better, and being ready to change my focus away from screens. Happiness itself is a habit I used to cultivate regularly.

We all have habits that we know aren’t ideal, from eating out too much or eating the wrong foods, drinking too much, not being as kind as we could, not getting enough sleep, not exercising enough, not spending enough quality time with our children, friends and family, not goal-setting enough for our futures, and the list goes on. So then what?

What is the hardest part of changing a habit? Deciding to make the change? Making the change the first time? Continuing to make the change until it becomes a new habit?

This may be too much self disclosure, but when I’m feeling down like this, the hardest part for me is deciding that I’m worth making the change. I also find it easier to make changes when I have a support network. Step one should be being accountable to myself, but to start, will someone be my change-buddy?

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