Humans are very good at forming habits. We grow accustomed to doing things a certain way, and then the behavior sticks. When it’s a good habit, such as a morning workout routine, it’s a wonderful thing. But what happens when we form a bad habit?
We all have bad habits in one form or another. Habits take time to form and are typically hard to break. So when we develop a bad habit, this unwanted behavior can be difficult to correct. But with dedication and strategic planning, you’ll find that it’s easier to change a habit rather than try to break it.
Substitution is key to changing a behavior. Once you’ve defined your bad habit, it’s important to identify what triggers it. Then you can develop a plan to substitute the unwanted behavior with a positive alternative. Let’s take a look at some bad habits and ways to change them with healthier substitutions.
Smoking is unhealthy, smelly, and expensive. Quitting is one of the toughest things a smoker can do.
Substitution: Instead of smoking, try vaping instead. It’s a safer alternative to breathing hot tobacco smoke. People who vape don’t smell and the cost of vape juice and eliquid is considerably less expensive than a cigarette habit.
Are you an impulse buyer? Do you find yourself spending more than you should? Shopping is indeed enjoyable. Buying new clothes or a fancy new gadget can boost your morale and lift your spirits. We all enjoy dining at restaurants, going to the movies, and traveling to interesting places. But overspending can become a problem when you start building credit card debt and are unable to save.
Substitution: Rent DVDs or Blu-ray movies instead of paying top dollar at a theater. Learn some new recipes to eat at home instead of spending money at a restaurant. Create a budget and plan your purchases. The next time you feel a restless urge to buy something, choose items on your shopping list instead of the latest flashy promotion. And whenever possible, try to pay with cash instead of using your credit card.
Are you waking up feeling tired and groggy? You may have bad habits which are causing you to sleep poorly. It’s important to abstain from late-night meals, alcohol, and mental stimulation right before bedtime.
Substitution: Before bed, drink chamomile tea instead of alcohol. Put away your electronics and read a book instead. If you’re starving before bedtime, eat a banana instead of spicy foods or a large meal. Foods which contain tryptophan Or magnesium are known to aid in sleeping.
For many people, it’s hard to stop eating. There are just too many tasty cuisines, delicious desserts, and tempting salty snacks. It’s very easy to overeat during meals and throughout the day. The good news is that you can change this behavior without going hungry. There are plenty of low-calorie foods that will fill your belly and leave you satisfied.
Substitution: The next time you crave a large steak, eat fresh salmon or skinless chicken instead. Rather than eating fast food, give soy burgers a try. When it’s time for dessert, enjoy a delicious banana or cantaloupe melon instead of that big slice of chocolate cake. If you need a snack, don’t reach for the potato chips, crackers or salty pretzels. Instead, try air-popped popcorn, or a low-calorie rice cake. Have a salad with low-calorie dressing. This way, your stomach will stop rumbling, but you won’t be consuming more food than your body can handle.
Breaking a bad habit is a difficult and frustrating experience. You’ll have better success changing the habit instead of trying to break it. Trick your brain by substituting unwanted behaviors with better alternatives. When you can turn a bad habit into a good one, you’ll enjoy the long-term benefits of a healthier, more positive lifestyle.