We all approach the New Year with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. Excitement, because this marks the chance for us to take a new start in life and make it all better, or at least try to correct some of the mistakes of the past. Apprehension, because this is the time when we review how the resolutions of the previous year have gone, and chances are that they have been ditched quite early in the year! But for this New Year, here’s a little guideline to help each one of us quit bad habits and stick to the healthy resolutions for 2017.
Don’t Quit Bad Habits Cold Turkey
Many wait until the first day of a brand new year to ditch their bad habits into oblivion: They over-indulge before they start, thinking that they need to enjoy it now while they still can. Unfortunately, this behavior only creates extreme cravings, whether for sweet chocolate, video games, or even tobacco. Why does this happen? Simply because our habits are just as addictive as a drug and affects the brain at different levels. While this is less dangerous than life-threatening and illegal drugs, they do create over time a dependency that the body and the brain get used to.
For gamers, it’s the fact that they can’t relax and don’t know what to do with themselves if they don’t play, for others it could be that over-eating is the only thing that they think makes them happy, etc. There is no way around it: Up to 90% of people who entertain a bad habit are addicted without knowing it. Consequently, when you decide to ditch a bad habit, you will experience what is called a period of withdrawal. Withdrawal is a difficult experience to make, with symptoms that can be similar to the flu and can last for a few weeks, sometimes even long periods of depression. But stick with it, you’ll soon feel a lot better.
Don’t Do It On Your Own
Quitting smoking, quitting alcohol, eating healthy food, etc., is for many quitting the habit of a lifetime. This is a big step and you need all the help you can get on the way! Thankfully you will find some useful support: Champix tablets help to stop smoking for example, as they work directly on the nicotine receptors in the brain and makes cravings for cigarettes more manageable. Others prefer to rely on friends and groups to limit some addictions, such as going shopping with a reasonable friend who will stop you from over-spending. Some even swear by hypnotism and claim that they found it a great support when they decided to quit for real. Whatever you choose, do make sure that your plan includes something to help your brain fight the addiction.
Quit Gradually Over A Period Of Time
Your habit will generate cravings, whether those are irresistible needs for something sweet, or for letting your credit card smoke with over-use if you are addicted to shopping, etc. We all have bad habits and it is natural to miss them when we decide to stop. Whether you are looking forward to saying goodbye to cakes for example, or quit video games, you will need to gradually reduce your daily intake to make sure that you will be successful in quitting. There are more than just power of will when you walk away from bad habits: Often the brain and the body will still be intoxicated with substances generated by our habits, this could be the adrenaline from gaming for example. Therefore the brain, or the body, will be requiring the usual ratio it generally receives.
This is a physical reaction and fighting it, even though it is for your own mental and physical health, can actually makes you feel sick. As a result, you will be better off if you gradually get your body used to smaller amounts of your bad habit. This is something that you will need to plan carefully, to make sure that while you continue to diminish the frequency, you are not creating too significant cravings. Give yourself a week to reduce your daily intake if you are addicted to soda drinks, for example. Similarly, if you love shopping too much, you can allow yourself only a certain budget, take it in cash for extra safety, for a fortnight.
Replace Bad Habits With A New Habit
A bad habit is not only an addiction, but as we know it is also a habit. The best way to forget about a habit is to swap it for a new one. It could be anything as long as you are careful to stay away from other types of dangerous addictions. Whether you decide to pick up jogging, to start a painting course, to learn a new language, or even to lose yourself into books, it is up to you. As long as you find something that you can be passionate about, you are sure to never go back to your bad habit again. After all, passions can be just as addictive too, but they are healthy!
LET'S GET SOCIAL...