Despite our many differences, most of us share one thing in common: we are guilty of poor habits that affect our health. It is no exaggeration to say these tendencies are often to blame for common health complications. Obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and hypertension are just a few of the issues affecting society on a large-scale and can be traced back to poor lifestyle habits.
Whether you are at risk of developing a disease or not, it pays to reflect on your current practices. If you determine you have a few problematic areas or you would like to get rid of your ineffective practices, it raises the question of ditching old habits.
Let us break down this topic a little further…
1. What’s your purpose? If old habits are to be removed, you must have a purpose to help you rally your efforts. For many people, seeking to improve their overall health and well-being may not be enough. Usually, a clear and highly defined purpose is what is necessary to stay on track and avoid returning to old ways.
Treating Type 2 diabetes is a good example. Losing weight once and for all, followed by maintaining a healthy weight is another valid purpose. To ditch your old habits, you must want to achieve something you find highly beneficial and greatly rewarding.
2. Recognizing your mistakes. You must realize and acknowledge which habits have been holding you back and separate emotion from logic in the process. Smoking is an easy poor practice to admit to. Overeating and laziness, causing you to be overweight and physically inactive, tends to be more difficult.
Your mistakes and shortcomings can be fixed. More importantly, your past is no indication of how your future will be.
3. Replacing old habits with new ones. At some point, old habits will have to be replaced with new ones. Newton’s third law states: “every action includes an opposite reaction.” While we are not suggesting there is an overlap between lifestyle and physics, a principle of the latter is certainly relevant here.
Ideally, you will ditch an old habit for a new one, replacing a negative with a positive. Here are some examples…
- subtracting an hour of TV/Internet time to exercise instead.
- eliminating daily snacking; eating balanced and satisfying meals.
- eating fewer carbohydrates; including more healthy fats and protein.
- cutting out alcohol; drinking more water and tea.
4. Consistency. Lastly, you will need to be consistent if any change you make in life is to be fruitful. What is the point in starting to exercise today if you are going to abandon your goals tomorrow? You will need to stick with your changes if your old habits are to be dismissed forever.Do all of the above, and you will have much better control over your health.