Posts Tagged ‘breaking bad habits’

Breaking Bad Habits Now

April 4, 2017

Habits form when we repeat an action and often they are very helpful to us. We form bad habits because they have short-term benefits, and we ignore the long-term consequences for this momentary payoff. The more enjoyable the instant gratification, the harder the bad habit is to break.

When behaviors are enjoyable, even if they’re unhealthy, they can release a chemical in the brain called dopamine. The habit becomes even stronger, and we continue doing it regardless of how we feel afterward (i.e. overeating, obsessively checking social media, etc.).

STRATEGIES TO BREAK BAD HABITS

Along the path to better habits, we must start by making a choice. Here are several strategies to break bad habits:

GETTING STARTED

  • Identify purpose – Perhaps the most helpful strategy is to understand what purpose the bad habit serves. If you weren’t getting something from it, you wouldn’t keep doing it.
  • Identify progression – What actions typically lead up to your habit? Disrupting the progression of events that trigger your bad habit sets you up for greater success.
  • Identify motivation – How would you assess your commitment to change? Feeling a deep connection to your “why” helps make difficult choices worth it.
  • Identify influence – Try to avoid individuals who are linked to dangerous habits like excessive drinking or drug use.

MOVING TOWARD GOOD HABITS

  • Plan ahead – Don’t trust your strength in the moment. Making a plan ahead of time for dealing with temptation prepares your mind to resist the urge.
  • Change environments – Be mindful of situations and temptations where it might be easy to continue in your behavior. This will help to eliminate the potential for a slip-up.
  • Practice mindfulness – Pay attention to your mind and body. Be mindful of the emotions you’re experiencing and what’s going on in your body.
  • Replace with good – Trade out your bad habits for good ones. For example, swap out the time you once spent overeating and use it to exercise.

POSSIBLE SETBACKS ALONG THE WAY

  • Not alone – You don’t have to do this alone. Find someone wanting to quit one of his or her bad habits and team up.
  • Forgive – If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up. Change takes time. Some days you might take a step back before you keep moving forward. Forgive yourself and keep trying.

Escaping Financial Stress

August 12, 2016

We know our minds and bodies are connected, but did you realize they’re also linked to our bank accounts? Financial stress can have a large impact on your physical health, thoughts, and relationships.

The largest obstacle between financial wisdom and lowering our stress is our attitude. In our quest to make the right decision, we can become scared about the wrong one. Sometimes we assume if we try to make wise financial choices we’ll just end up failing. However, it would be better to take the risk, and even possibly fail, than to never make a move.

Tips to Alleviate Financial Stress

The pinch on our bank accounts and the ever-changing market isn’t something to take lightly. The following tips may help ease the financial stress and strain on your wallet.

Adjust your perspective – Often times, when we have failed in the past, success seems farther out of reach than it actually is. Perceptions can easily be flawed. Our attitudes about what we have control over and what we don’t control can impact our level of success.

Stick to your budget – Knowing how to track your money is critical. Establishing a clear budget shows you exactly how much inflow and outflow you have. If you’re unsure how to make a budget, there are online tools and mobile apps available to teach you.

Identify unhealthy emotions – If you’ve made a poor financial choice this doesn’t mean you’re destined for failure. Guilt is rarely a helpful emotion. Instead, focus on what you can change  rather than beating yourself up for your prior financial mistakes.

Know your weaknesses – Avoid places, people, or situations that will tempt you to spend money you don’t have. For example, if you make impulse purchases after a stressful day at the office, try taking a walk and avoiding the mall. Practice saying no to people who pressure you to spend too much money.

Seek help – Look to the experts for help if you need it. Speaking with a legitimate professional can answer your financial questions and guide you toward a specific, attainable goal. Why not benefit from their expertise?

Coworker Woes – Dealing with Unprofessional Colleagues

June 8, 2015

In many office environments, employees have less than collegial relationships, a new survey shows. Over twenty percent of respondents recently surveyed said they work with someone who is rude or unprofessional on the job. Of those, 68% felt coworkers frequently behave badly – and not just to the people who report to them. More than half (59%) of all workers surveyed said their boorish colleagues are equal-opportunity offenders, upsetting subordinates, peers and superior alike.

OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in the placement of administrative professionals, developed the survey. The interviews were conducted by an independent research firm and include responses from 532 full- or part-time workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

“Most employees will encounter an unpleasant colleague at some point, and how they interact with these coworkers can affect their careers,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Tactfully handling challenging personalities requires strong interpersonal skills and diplomacy, which can help someone stand out for all the right reasons.”

Coping With Unpleasant Colleagues

Although nobody likes working with someone who is inconsiderate or unkind, the survey suggests those who have been in the workforce the longest may have built up immunity to bad behavior. Among respondents, 35% of those age 65 and older said inconsiderate coworkers should be tolerated as long as they are good at their jobs.

The Belittler – Belittlers routinely tear others down in order to build themselves up. Put downs, demeaning remarks and disparaging comments are common trademarks of this person.

Coping strategy: Your confidence is the belittler’s weakness, and he or she will back off if you stand up for yourself. Try refuting a belittler’s criticism by asserting yourself, using facts where possible. For example, if he or she puts down one of your ideas, say “it’s something that’s worked for X, Y and Z, and it’s also more cost-effective than what we’re doing now.”

The Credit Thief – Insecure about their status, credit thieves boldly steal your ideas and grab the glory when a project is successful. Curiously, they are nowhere to be found when things go wrong.

Coping strategy: Keep a written record of your activities and accomplishments. Give your manager regular status reports about the projects you are working on, and don’t hesitate to correct misperceptions (for example, “Actually, I did the research; John helped input the data”).

The Saboteur – Saboteurs have a knack for leaving colleagues in the lurch. Similar to the belittler, they like to make others look bad. Their tactics aren’t always overt, so you may not realize you are working with a saboteur until a critical deadline arrives. Then, you find you are unable to complete your part of the project because the saboteur has withheld important information.

Coping strategy: Be sure your supervisor or project manager knows the roles and responsibilities of each team member, and insist on regular progress reports so that saboteurs can’t take advantage of lapses in oversight.

The Rumormonger – Rumormongers like drama and often spread half-truths or lies by talking behind others’ backs. This is an especially dangerous type of coworker because he or she has the ability to tarnish your reputation.

Coping strategy: The best defense is to avoid engaging in any kind of gossip – remember that anything you say can be held against you. If the rumormonger starts swapping stories with you, say only good things about your colleagues and excuse yourself as quickly as possible.

The Slacker – This person may try to pass off tasks to other staff members. The slacker often claims he or she is “too busy” to help out yet will make time for water cooler chats and web surfing during office hours.

Coping Strategy: Be sure this person carries his or her weight on project teams by documenting the responsibilities of each member of the group and making for regular status reports. Hold everyone accountable for his or her portion of the project, and be firm with deadlines.

Breaking Bad Habits

January 30, 2015

Do you typically think about every step involve din your daily routine? Probably not, thanks to habits. When we develop habits from our repeated action, it frees up our brains to focus on other tasks. The more enjoyable the instant gratification, the harder the bad habit is to break.

Why is it so difficult to change our vices? When behaviors are enjoyable, even if they’re unhealthy, they can release a chemical in the brain called dopamine. The habit becomes even stronger, and we continue doing it regardless of how we feel afterward.

Strategies to Break Bad Habits

It is possible to break bad habits, and humans are good at learning how to exercise self-control. Along the path to better habits, we must start by making a choice. Here are several proven strategies to break bad habits.

Identify purpose. What purpose does the habit serve? If you aren’t getting something enjoyable from it, you wouldn’t keep doing it. for example, maybe you smoke to help calm you down or you overeat for comfort. When you identify the needs behind the habit, you can look for healthier alternatives.

Identify progression. What actions typically lead up to your habit? Disrupting this progression of events can help set you up for greater success.

Identify motivation. Why do you want to change? Feeling deep connection to your “why” helps make difficult choices worth it. Be specific for greater motivation.

Tips for Changing Habits

Plan ahead. Don’t trust your strength in the moment. Making a plan ahead of time for dealing with temptation prepares your mind to resist the urge. Try calling a friend or someone to hold you accountable.

Practice mindfulness. Pay attention to your mind and body. Be mindful to the emotions you’re experiencing and what’s going on in your body. This will help you take better care of yourself.

Replace with good. Trade out your bad habits for good ones. For example, swap out the time you once spent overeating and use it to exercise. Create healthy, daily routines to help fill the need or craving of your bad habit.

As with any difficulty, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Find a therapist, support group, or organization to help you get started on learning more about yourself. The encouragement could steer you toward the best strategy to break your bad habits and change them for good. After all, Who wouldn’t want a healthy lifestyle to be second nature?

Mood Lifters

February 7, 2014

Not feeling your usual positive self? Try these pick-me-ups.

Re-wire what you say and think. Instead of saying things like, “This day it shot” or “I’m not good at this,” or thinking things like, “This is really a downer” or “I feel terrible,” make a conscious effort to talk and think positively. I can get over this. I can do this, and I feel great. Things are going to work out just fine. It’s amazing how just a few words can make such a big difference.

Play your winners. Winners are things that almost always make you feel good or lift your spirits. At work, keep a photo from a recent vacation or of the car you’re rebuilding or display a craft project or one of your child’s drawings. Other winners include a favorite book or video that always makes you laugh.

Help others. To help someone else is probably the last thing on our minds when we feel we need help ourselves. But reaching out to someone in need has so many positive emotional benefits. The good feeling that comes from volunteering at a soup kitchen, youth clinic, shelter or other venue can naturally lift sagging spirits.

Step into the light. More people seek help for depression in the winter than in the summer. Many researches believe it’s because there are fewer daylight hours in the winter. The condition is called Seasonal Affective Disorder. Look for ways to work sunlight into your day just as you would exercise or any other healthy behavior.

Exercise. Exercise releases a chemical in the brain that naturally elevates mood. Athletes sometimes refer to this effect as a “physical high.” Take a brisk walk, shoot some baskets or whatever else you enjoy that your doctor recommends as appropriate for your state of health.

Stay away from alcohol or other drugs. Relying on chemicals to feel better is a common practice. But it doesn’t work. Alcohol or other drugs only cover up painful feelings that may need to be addressed before lasting, positive change can take place.

Ask for help. It isn’t always possible to easily rebound from an emotional down like a relationship breakup or job change. In such cases, try what hundreds of thousands of people do each year – reach out for help.

Time Out For Affirmations

December 23, 2013

People who use affirmations say consistently repeating the brief statements inspires them to achieve personal development goals. The following affirmations focus on some common self-improvement goals. Try repeating them to yourself.

To take control of time

  • I am master of my schedule.
  • I determine what is important and give it priority.
  • I recognize and deal with conflicting time demands.
  • I can create my own quiet time.

To succeed in a love relationship

  • I enjoy being in a relationship and sharing my life.
  • I enjoy it when my partner keeps growing, even in areas where I am not involved.
  • I show my love in public and in the privacy of our home and family.

To free yourself from stress

  • I am relaxed in mind and body.
  • I create tranquility.
  • I feel calm.

To deal with a life-changing event

  • I have the strength to overcome adversity.
  • I can handle this now because I know things will get better again.
  • When one door closes, another opens.

To overcome fears and obstacles

  • I am full of courage and confidence.
  • I remove limitations I have placed on myself.
  • I am free to pursue any goals I desire.

To feel comfortable about making mistakes

  • I accept that I am human, that I sometimes make mistakes.
  • I am not perfect, and nobody expects me to be perfect.
  • I can face my mistakes calmly and take appropriate corrective action without shame.

To set and achieve goals

  • I strive for (your goal) and will work to make it happen.
  • I am master of my future.
  • (Your goal) is important to me, and I will achieve it.

To build self-esteem

  • I celebrate my uniqueness.
  • I am competent and capable.
  • I believe in myself as no one else can.

To be more assertive

  • I am cooperative and understanding, but I can say “no” and still feel good about myself.
  • I make good decisions, and I am in control of my life.
  • I handle difficult situations effectively.

To express anger in healthy ways

  • My anger is an energy I can use positively.
  • I move away from the source of my anger.
  • I visualize a safe, quiet place when I am angry.

Positive Thinking Can Bring Good Health

August 22, 2013

Positive thoughts can motivate healthy behaviors, such as eating right, being active, and feeling good about yourself. It sounds so simple, but it is very true. unfortunately, the reverse is also true. Your thoughts can be defeating. “I’m already overweight, so it doesn’t matter if I eat a second piece of cake.” Or, “I only have 10 minutes, I’ll never get this assignment done.” Negative thoughts, often called negative self-talk, may sabotage your good intentions.

“I think I can”

Studies have measured the success of positive-thinkers and found that those who think they can lose weight or increase their physical activity, do! These people are more successful than people with less faith in themselves.

How to Stay Positive

Positive thinkers admit when they feel frustrated or depressed. They don’t ignore it. But they also don’t blame themselves. Instead, they try to understand the negative thoughts and feelings and counter them with more positive ones.

So how do you stay positive, maintain momentum and sustain healthy behaviors? here are some tips:

Look for a good role model. There is always someone who seems to be doing just what you want to be doing. Learn from a successful friend, family member or colleague.

Try some positive self-talk and avoid negative-talk. Take a minute to give yourself an ego boost. Repeat some motivational words out loud or to yourself. Negative talk, “I can’t do it,” “I’m fat,” is dangerous for your well-being.

Six Ways to Say Goodbye to a Bad Habit

December 28, 2012

Bad habits can range from the trivial, such as biting one’s nails, to the serious, such as the use of tobacco products, excessive drinking, or over-eating. The trouble with bad habits is that many times they are easy to start, but difficult to stop. There are many simple ways to help break a bad habit. Here are a few ideas to help you start on a new path.

1. Use a journal. Sometimes it helps to really think about why the bad habit is a part of your life. Are you trying to fill a void? Is it helping you cope with stress? Are you addicted to the bad habit? You need to answer these questions. Some people find that journaling, or keeping track of their thoughts in a book (or even online) can help them work through their bad habit. If you get a craving to engage in your bad habit, stop and think about why you want to do it. Then write down your feelings and explore them. A journal can also help you keep track of your many successes as well.

2. Get expert help. It’s important to realize that some bad habits are too big to break alone. You may need the help of a mental health care professional, such as a counselor, psychiatrist or employee resource professional in order to stop your bad habit. Other people may look to spiritual leaders like pastors or rabbis for advice and counsel. If you are dealing with an addiction or other health-related addiction, your primary care physician may be able to help you assess your problem, give you tips, and possibly even treatment to help you break your bad habit once and for all. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional during this important decision.

3. Replace the bad habit with a new, good habit. One reason many people find it difficult to quit a bad habit is that they don’t know what to do with their time once they stop engaging in the habit. Boredom strikes, and they feel tempted to fall back into their habitual behavior. Taking up new hobbies or activities can help you work through your boredom and cravings. Many people find that taking up a new exercise class or sport can be a useful and healthy way of avoiding their bad habit.

4. Find resources. In the age of the information superhighway, there is no shortage of information to help you fight through your bad habit. If you don’t have internet access at home, most public libraries and even some community centers have free computer access. Online you can access tips and advice on just about everything. Additionally, many 12-step groups (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) list their local meeting schedules and hotlines on the web.

5. Find support groups. Trying to break a bad habit alone can sometimes be a difficult task, especially if the habit you are trying to break is actually an addiction. You need not suffer alone. Many people find support groups or 12-step meetings are very beneficial to the improvement of their lifestyle and can help them fight through the urge to engage in their bad habit or addiction. There are 12-step groups for a variety of problems and addictions such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and Over-Eaters Anonymous. Support groups meet in a variety of locations and at all times of the day.

6. Be proud of your progress. You should always be proud of your successes, no matter how large or small. Celebrate your progress, from week to week and month to month, and reward yourself for all of your hard work. If you meet a weight loss goal, treat yourself to a new outfit. If you have managed to stay smoke-free for a month, reward yourself with a new DVD. Just make sure your rewards aren’t triggers for your bad habit.