How To Keep New Years Resolutions – Quitting Bad Habits

Banksy Wall Israel Bethlehem

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This week we have been talking about keeping our new years resolutions, first by making big changes and then by making small changes.

Today we will be talking about something that is difficult for all of us, but extremely important for achieving our 2013 goals: Quitting Bad Habits.

Bad habits come in all shapes and sizes and the truth is that we all have habits that we wish we didn’t.  One of mine is the biting of finger nails.  I know that its kind of gross for others to see.  I know that I will always bite my nails too short.  And I know that it will always hurt and make me mad!  But for some reason, even though I don’t like it or the results I get from it, I still continue to bite and chew.

There are 2 main reasons bad habits are so important to focus on when we talk about both achieving our New Years resolutions and the overall process of becoming a Renaissance Man:

1. Almost all new years resolutions involve getting rid of bad habits… Quitting smoking, eating healthier, stop drinking soda, etc.  This makes understanding habits and getting rid of bad habits very important.

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2.  Getting rid of a bad habit is like punching a hole through the wall (hence the banksy picture above) and getting a glimpse of what your life may look like when you start making changes.  We all need this boost!  Sometimes that little bit of light from the other side gives us just what we need to achieve our goals.

-Addiction Circle of Change

In a counseling class I had last year we talked at length about addiction and while most of the class was focused more on substance abuse issues, bad habits are essentially addictions also, even if its something as trivial as biting finger nails.  When we were looking at what it takes to overcome addiction, we were introduced to the graphic on the right.

First is contemplation and the desire to change the habit or addiction.  Next is the preparation necessary to overcome the behavior.  After that is the action… the point in which you throw out the cigarettes, clean out your pantry, etc.  Finally there is a period of maintenance.  This is the longest and most difficult part of overcoming your addiction and is usually followed by a series of relapses in which the circle repeats itself.  But eventually a stable, non addictive, behavior is achieved.

Since that was a whirl wind, the site we looked at the graphic from my class is available: here for more information on each stage of change.

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Change is not an exact science and is more difficult for some than others.  The important thing is that you are willing to try and fail.  But when you fail, you have to get back up and start over.  That is the only way that you will overcome your bad habit.

What are some habits you are working on?  What are some things you need help with?  Ask some questions below!

Check out this great video about habits:

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