BREAKING BAD HABITS

Kicking bad habits is possible. Look for support group or professional help if the task is too daunting to be handled alone.

We are all creatures of habit. If we really think about it, we put the same leg, first, in our pants every time we get dressed. In our morning care we mostly adhere to the same routine, brushing our teeth with most of the same motions, we do the same steps getting into and out of the shower, even in drying ourselves with that great soft towel.

We don’t even stop to think how we arrange the food on our plates, or which bowl we favor for that breakfast flake. Most of these habits are acquired with months, or even years of trying to get it right, or feeling comfortable in what we are doing day to day.

There are other habits which may have a deeper psychological origin that border on, or completely affect our health, or their effect on others.

As Susan Knauss Whitbourne, PhD describes in her article on Psychology Today, www.searchforfulfillment.com,there may be reasons for habitual lateness, besides being rude and insensitive. It may have its origin in wanting to put the recipient on our time line and not theirs.

There are other bad habits like drinking, overeating, and smoking that may be harder to kick, and need support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers, or medical attention. They are life threatening. The cause is often psychological, rather than simply acquired.

The steps we can take and realizations that accompany them may affect our goals. Are we simply harming ourselves or are we damaging others in the process of our bad habits? My thoughts turn to my mother, whose heart condition was made worse by the second hand smoke she endured on a daily basis.

Or could it be of a family torn apart by a drinking parent?  These have become ways of life, addictions, too terrible to simply be considered bad habits.

We can take to try to overcome habits. First you can want to change your tardiness, or of interrupting, or whatever trait you and others find offensive, and then you must convince yourself to change. Ask the people who care about you to help. It will make your progress easier for they will encourage you.

Try to understand why it is you want to ‘kick this habit.’ Set reasonable goals for yourself. If you are totally ‘in’ to popping your chewing gun, you can’t expect to kick the habit in a week, or even a month. Find a way to measure your progress, and don’t be discouraged when you can’t measure up all the time.  Keep trying.

Above all seek professional help when it is really necessary. There is no shame in asking for help. That is what support groups are there for. If your own health, or the well being of others is at risk, I urge you to seek professional help.