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Bad Habits Are Hard To Break: Kicking The “Addiction” Cycle

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Everyone, or at least most of us, want to think we’re “improving” over time. Yet, there are things that simply seem to have a hold that just won’t let go. And, for many, one of those strongholds may be dealing with “addiction”. Whether you want to quit smoking, stop sweating the small stuff, walk away from that decadent dessert or from the computer that’s calling you after dinner, the key is gaining control. But how? The experts weigh in.

1. Define why you do or continue to do what you do: You’ve heard it said that before you can “fix” a problem, you must admit that there IS one. But, say experts, you also have to identify why the solution you’ve chosen is merely a “crutch”, adding that in most cases it’s the “drug” of choice to help us deal with depression, anxiety, unhappiness, pain, and numbs us from dealing with the reality of life.

2. Change your thought process: Start to think rationally rather than in ways that justify your behaviour. Sure you have to take a pill for your migraine, but you don’t have to light up a cigarette to deal with stress. Worse yet is those of us that know our behaviour is “bad” and should be dealt with, but choose to ignore it. In fact, they add that for some, it may be a welcome cover up for dealing with the real issue, usually something that is bothering us. So, if you can’t think it through yourself, ask others for help.

3. Change your pattern: Experts asset that the crutch we have is there for a reason, and we “need” it for a specific purpose. Therefore, if we don’t replace it, preferably with something positive, we likely won’t let it go. Find a suitable and satisfying alternative and remove the negative habit a little at a time.

4. Know your triggers: Take note of what triggers you habit and start dealing with these as well. If you must have a drink with supper, replace alcohol with water or juice. If you smoke with your cup of coffee, think about having tea instead or chewing gum rather than taking a drag. Also use the time that you’d normally use to feed your addition to do something (beneficial) for you. Also make sure to avoid pattern, places, etc. that will allow you to give in.

5. Clean house: Improve your life by improving how you live and redefining happiness and success. Refrain from carrying around cash so that you won’t be able to “feed your addiction.” you may even have to take an alternate route to work, so you don’t tempt yourself, for example, with fast food, and you may even have to “revise” your circle of friends.

6. Take responsibility for your actions and build a strong support system: Stop blaming others or the situation for doing what you do. How you cope is strictly up to you. But, say experts, it’s always good to have someone to answer and report to. Consider involving friends and family as you overcome you addiction and join a support group so you have an outlet for exchanging ideas with others just like you.

7. Treat yourself well Break down the task in more manageable segments but allow yourself to be “rewarded” with each little accomplishment, even if it wasn’t of the caliber of level that you’d hoped for, wanted or expected

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