by SUSAN BOYOUNG BAILEY SCHABACKER
It’s all too easy to live life on autopilot. And, whether consciously, subconsciously, or unconsciously, the repetition of our routines can become habits. Some of these habits are beneficial to our health and others can be downright destructive. Unfortunately, once something has become ingrained in your mind, body, and spirit, it can feel nearly impossible to break, but thinking it through can help you know what to change and how to change it.
Research indicates that the time needed to break a habit ranges widely, from 18 to 254 days, but there’s no need to stress out over the numbers. Instead, break it down piece-by-piece and step-by-step so you can harness healthier habits and ditch what’s detrimental.
No need for a lame shame game. . . Real people often have real issues to work through. It’s not always clean, easy, or pretty, and that’s okay. Have hope, whether struggling with extreme addiction and substance abuse, an abusive relationship, or unhealthy eating.
Be honest with your assessment; be objective and non-judgmental. Make a list of unhealthy habits that you’d be better off without. However bad, unhealthy, and toxic they may be, the good news is there are ways to overcome the detrimental and substitute healthy habits to feel more well, whole, and healed.
Choose one habit that’s the most urgent to change, and instead of aiming for utopian perfection, cultivate the 5 P’s: PASSION, PRIORITIES, POSITIVITY, PATIENCE, and PRACTICE.
Take time to reflect and ask yourself who and what are most important to you. Get to know and better understand your passion – what’s most important and true to you – your heart and soul. It’s important to be true to yourself with who you are, what inspires you, and what truly makes you happy. No pressure. Be at peace with yourself and everything and everyone in your life. The more aware, attuned, and aligned you are with the sources of the passion that drives you, the better your life will be.
You will gain greater mental clarity, more meaning, clearer direction, and ultimately more satisfaction as you clarify, focus on, and aim to achieve your life’s goals and objectives. Along with better understanding and clearer definition, stick to your priorities to maximize your time, effort, and productivity.
At times, our lives can be like roller coaster rides or mountain hikes, full of highs and lows, and twists and turns. Experiencing ups and downs and peaks and valleys may not be in your control (or your liking), but choose positive reinforcement and choose to focus on what you are in control of.
Our minds are plenty powerful, as is the connection between mind, body, and spirit. The thoughts that circulate in our minds can easily become our words, which can translate directly into our actions and interactions, which can impact our lives and the entire trajectories of our life’s journey – for better or worse. Strive to be more conscious of your own thoughts that are connected with your feelings and emotions. Be more aware and attuned to who and what you think about, whether consciously or subconsciously.
PATIENCE & PRACTICE
If negativity keeps creeping in and leads you into a downward spiral or causes distracting, intrusive, nagging thoughts, don’t panic. Instead, take time to pause and breathe deeply. Focus on replacing negative thoughts with healthier, more positive thoughts. Set your mind on mental images that uplift you, not bring you down. With each breath in, focus on clearing, detoxing, and cleansing your mind, body, and spirit with everything fresh, good, healthy, and positive that you desire.
Pray and meditate as you refresh, reset, and recenter to start anew with a clean slate. With your exhales, continue positive intentions that you are releasing and relieving yourself of whatever or whoever is causing negativity. Remind yourself you are free, loved, worthy, and capable.
Reinforce your belief in yourself with thoughts and words of affirmations and encouragement. Focus on your passion and priorities. Embrace positive reinforcement and remember that ditching detrimental habits takes a lot of practice and a great deal of patience.