10 Ways to Change

10 Ways to Change

The mark of an adult is not being earnest, or taking yourself seriously but to be able to make choices, to be able to inhibit your impulses. The mark of an adult is self control based on self knowledge and the application of that knowledge to improving your relations with yourself, other people and your environment.

Are you concerned about your addictive impulses? Maybe you feel that you’re drinking too much or too often. Perhaps over eating is a habit you’d like to better control. It’s always wise to check with your health professional — they should be able to help you decide whether it is best for you to cut back, control or to abstain. People who are dependent on alcohol, sugar, tobacco, recreational drugs or have other medical or mental health problems may need to ask for help.

The following steps may be helpful in acquiring self knowledge, self management and enable you to make healthy choices:
Write it down. Making a list of the reasons to curtail your habit — such as feeling healthier, sleeping better, or improving your relationships. This can help to motivate you to change your habits. Also make a list of all the reasons why you drink.
Set a goal. Give yourself a realistic time frame to allow the desire to change and the possibility of acting on it to emerge.
Ask for support. You may need to seek the help of a therapist, hypnotherapist, doctor or naturopath. Be realistic.
Keep a journal. Either a visual or written journal. For three to four weeks, keep track of yourself and your feelings.
Slowly, slowly. Once you have some idea of why you do what you do then slowly introduce good habits like drinking more water or exercising or doing different activities or hanging out with healthier people.
Choose. Stop your habit for a few days and sit with your feelings. By now you will have a support system in place and can possibly go through a withdrawal and allow yourself to make mistakes without remonstrating and getting angry with yourself.
Watch for peer pressure. Practice ways to say no politely. Make choices, Stay away from people who encourage you or support you in the habit you wish to change.
Keep busy. Take a walk, play sports, go out to eat, or catch a movie. When you’re at home, pick up a new hobby or revisit an old one. Painting, board games, playing a musical instrument, woodworking — any creative and or absorbing healthy activity.
Guard against temptation. Steer clear of activities, people and places you know will trigger your habit. Monitor your feelings. When you’re worried, lonely, or angry, you may revert to your habit. Try to cultivate new, healthy ways to cope with stress. It’s not forever, you will get stronger and more distance from your habits.
Be persistent. Most people who successfully modify or cut down on their bad habit, do so only after several attempts. You’ll probably have setbacks, but don’t let them keep you from reaching your long-term goal. There’s really no final endpoint, as the process usually requires ongoing effort.

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