Habits start as spider webs and end as chains. Good or bad, the body simply learns what you tell it to do most. So if you get a new job and start stopping at Tim Horton’s every morning for a coffee and donuts or decide to do 10 minutes of stretching at home and make your own coffee, these will become habits. Poor habits don’t become impossible to break from day 1. It’s much easier to correct a bad habit when it’s just beginning. The problem comes in when we do stuff we know we probably shouldn’t simply because there are no immediate consequences, like that donut every morning when you start your first full time job at 25 years old. By the time your 35 and 10lbs heavier, that donut doesn’t look so innocent anymore.
It’s not just the donut either, it’s the idea that we can correct or make up for all of our bad habits later on. “Ahhh this won’t kill me, I’ll eat really well tomorrow, plus it’s so yummy”. If you can justify that donut EVERY morning, it becomes easier to justify going out for lunch every day, then having drinks a couple times a week to “relieve the stress from the work day”. Before you know it, your lifestyle is filled with one choice after another that’s slowly destroying your health and you’re always trading immediate pleasure for a lifetime of poor health, obesity and disease.
How to stop bad habits and begin building new ones
First of all you have to be brutally honest with yourself and stop justifying your bad habits. If you have lousy eating patterns, admit it. If you’re sleep is terrible, admit it. If you can’t manage your time properly to be healthier, admit it. After you’ve identified the poor habits you’d like to change pick the one that requires the smallest amount of effort to improve and start there. DO NOT move on from this to the next habit until you have genuinely changed the habit. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, stick to it. Put reminders in your phone, on your fridge, on a post-it stuck to your computer monitor at work. Anywhere it’s visible to you, place reminders to yourself of what your goal is and why you’re doing it.
Remember that the longer you’ve had these habits(chains) the harder they will be to break. As with anything in life, anything worth having, you have to work hard for it. Start today, make the choice you’ve been talking about inside your head this whole and DO IT!
Nobody leaves this life saying “Man I wish I didn’t go through all those changes that made me happier”.