#1 Way To Break A Bad Habit

Today I am going to make it easy for you and tell you the “answer” without forcing you to read too much… The #1 way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good or “better” habit. That’s it, that’s all there is.

If you want to stop over eating and lose weight, replace your time on the couch snacking with time at the gym. If you want to stop smoking, join a smoking cessation group and start chewing gum! (Many states such as Colorado have FREE groups which will supply you with free material, nicotine patches, support and all of it!)

As for me, this summer I have finally broken a bad habit that really has plagued me my entire life. Sleeping. I have always been a horrible sleeper. Well, that’s not entirely true, I usually sleep rather well, once I go to sleep.

All of my life my internal clock has been set different from everyone else’s. My normal sleep pattern if left to my own devices has always been go to sleep around 2:00 a.m. and then wake up around 10:00 a.m. Of course that doesn’t jive with society’s schedule so I almost always stayed up too late and ALWAYS woke up tired and grumpy in the morning. At best I would be out of sorts as I was never a morning person. The rule for anyone who lives with me has always been to give me at least 20 minutes to “warm up” and wake up, and don’t even speak to me until I talk first and am ready to communicate.

So it’s clear that I have NEVER been a morning person… ever.

But this summer I decided to change that. I am not sure what really drove it but a large part of it is that I like waking up, naturally and on my own, before the alarm goes off. It just allows me to start my day more relaxed. Instead of waking up and struggling, I replaced the bad habit of staying up late with the good “new habit” of going to sleep early.

As the summer wore on, I got better and better at it. Instead of staying up late and playing on my tablet, I am now usually the first person in bed and the first person to sleep at night. Coincidentally, I am now the first person up in the morning, waking up before the alarm, and I have a decent amount of time to perform my morning rituals in a relaxed manner without rushing.

The other secondary gain to this new habit is that the majority of my daily runs this summer have been early morning runs and I have never been a morning running my entire life. I have always been an after work, or if I could fit it in, a mid-day lunchtime runner. I have always appreciated my early morning runs as I think that is a great way to set up the day but not until this summer have I ever been able to embrace it fully. And to be honest, for my “running career” this has been a huge game-changer for me.

The #1 way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good or “better” habit and after 47 years of struggling with my sleep cycles I have finally mastered something that has been at best inconvenient my entire life. It has improved my quality of life significantly and for that, I am extremely grateful.

Ultimately, our habits define us, and they can make us or break us. But if we want to, we can always break a bad habit, even after nearly 50 years, with awesome results and massive positive impact. If you have a bad habit that you want to break, just replace with a better one and watch how it changes all of the aspects of your life.

Do you have any bad habits that you would like change or be rid of altogether? What good habits could you replace it with instead?

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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