How To Make Breaking Bad Habits Easy

Happy Sunny Saturday!

I hope you have given yourself and your family some time to recharge your batteries over this long weekend.  It's alluring to know you have three days to get jobs done around the house, but it is equally fruitful to balance this with play and rest as well.

Today's piece is devoted to those of us who are currently stuck inside a rut of food, beverage, substance or work addiction.  In fact, there are many forms of addictive behavior that we can adopt in order to create a feeling of comfort and familiarity around us - its recognizing the fact we are in there that is part of the solution when climbing your way out.  That and the fact that we may need to embrace a little discomfort during the transition of change in order to free ourselves from the habits that are the very cause of health imbalance.

It is amazes me how the human condition clings fiercely to our habits and passionately protects them against the notion of change or complete release in order to feel incredible once freed.  It almost looks like the suggestion to make healthy changes is even an insult!  I often ask - What have you got to lose?  What have you got to gain?

For those of you who are trying to implement change and are struggling with the transition, here are my top tips on how to make this so much easier on yourself, and the ones around you who cop the inevitable fall out when change is embarked in an all or nothing approach.

Be the Bigger Person

Humbly accepting that your past habits have been adversely affecting your health or the health and wellbeing of others who love and support you and that you alone are the only person who can bring about peace and happiness through a commitment to change, is the act of the bigger person.  The bigger person is someone who accepts the challenge to better their situation also knowing this spreads out to those around them, instigating a reset of peace in the household.  The bigger person doesn't resent those around them for suggesting (and in some cases pleading desperately) that change needs to occur.  The bigger person just gets on with the job at hand, takes responsibility for themselves and their actions and doesn't abuse the power they may perceivably hold for the joy or lack thereof in the household.  Small acts of change can make the bigger person even bigger (metaphorically speaking).

Recognize, Replace, Rewire

Habits are thought to be one of the hardest things to change in life, we defend them and let them defeat us until we are sick and tired of them...they remain empowered over us up until one thing happens...YOU decide its time to change.

Recognizing your triggers.  This includes your environment, your timing, your belief systems around what holds your habit in place and even people you associate with who have the same habits (some may even entice you to stick with your habit so they can feel comfortable about their own). Get the pen and paper out, list a column for each habit you want to work on, and list the triggers down the page on what gets you into the rut again. For example, if coffee or smoking is a habit you want to change and a trigger is sitting down with the paper on the weekend or on the phone with a friend, those triggers need to be listed.  Recognizing what occurred way back to the beginning the starting trigger is also hugely beneficial, because this is often the place where your belief systems around harm from the habit '(smoking was marketed as a healthy choice when it was in its hey day around the 1950's)

Replace with non addictive habits. This can be the fun part of the habit changing process.  List down all the non addictive habits you can do to distract you from doing the usual thing that triggers you into the old rut.  This is also part of the rewiring step.  Usually a movement based activity is helpful, as it starts to release 'feel good' hormones release to your reward centre of the brain - the hypothalamus.  Some suggestions I use in clinic include colouring in, walking around the neighbourhood block if safe, short bursts of movement right at the trigger time, meditation, visiting friends, listening to a motivating song or playlist - there are a number of variations you can use to distract you healthily away from unhealthy grooves.

Rewire your chemistry to support good choices. There are a number of nutrients that when depleted may be actually triggering bad habits.  For example, when magnesium is deficient, sugar cravings are often higher.  Amino acids - the building blocks of protein molecules are vital for the rewiring and maintenance of the system when it comes to habit reformation.  One in particular has been well researched in its ability to reduce cravings for all types of substances.  N-Acetyl- Cysteine is a master amino acid when it comes to jobs to be done in your body.  At certain doses, it impacts on neural pathways to literally rewire your addiction pathways.  This and L-Glutamine are vital when aiming to restructure your chemical pathways.  Other recommendations would include liver detoxification pathway support during the withdrawal process, activated B vitamins and nervous system support herbs to maintain calm and focus during the transition.

Finally - make sure when you hit little milestones of successful change (we can set those together), celebrate them with non habit forming rewards.  It is one of the most important steps of your process.

Remember, you don't have to suffer any longer than is necessary by the entrapment of your cravings, addictions and habits.  Make the journey fun, joyous, committed and most of all, laced with love for yourself and those around you who matters the most.  This is where the magic of habit changing happens.

For a full withdrawal and habit changing program with Nicky, call our clinic on 0755939145 or contact us at info@wisehealthyliving.com.au to enquire about our Skype and phone programs.