It Starts with A Choice to Create New Ones
Most of the time, habits are good for us as they can make our day-to-day lives easier. We all have various cycles or habits of action that serve different functions. For example, you may have a morning routine of reading the news or going for a run before work. While we all have cycles of habits that are positive, we also have unhealthy cycles that are hard to get out of.
You may have an unhealthy cycle of smoking cigarettes when you’re stressed at work or taking your frustration on loved ones. If you have an unhealthy cycle like this, you know how hard it is to break it. Follow these tips to learn how to get out of it.
Track Your Behavior
Not everyone is always aware of the effects of their behaviors. Not only that, but some people may also be unaware of their behaviors as a whole. When you have an unhealthy cycle that you get stuck in, you likely don’t even notice it. After all, a cycle is just one or more habits— mindless action. If you picked up the idea that you have an unhealthy cycle— whether from your awareness or from something someone has told you— you should try to track your behavior and learn more about it.
What is it that initiates this unhealthy cycle? What do you do that is negative? Who does your behavior affect? All of this information can be used to help you build your strategy to break the cycle.
Focus Your Attention on Why You Want to Break the Cycle
Once you’ve identified your behavior and you know what’s going on in your unhealthy cycle, you can focus on breaking it. To do that, you must know why you want to break it. What’s going on when you experience a trigger? How do you react and what are the consequences of it?
Be mindful of how your actions affect yourself, your health, your family and friends, and more. By improving your self-and overall awareness, you’ll have more internal and external motivation for implementing change.
Strengthen Your Reason for Breaking a Cycle
To improve your motivation and desire for change, extend the effects of your behavior. For example, if you’re frequently smoking or binge drinking, you’ll want to change your habit because it’s better for your health and your family. However, it’s more than just better for your health, and you can realize that.
When you break a cycle of something that’s physically bad for your health, it means you can go for a bike ride with friends and family or pick up a new hobby like hiking or yoga. For any unhealthy cycle you have, you can find honest motivation for changing it, and then you can enhance that motivation.
Mindfulness is all about paying attention to what’s going on in and around you. It’s about developing an awareness of what you think and how you respond to your events in your environment. Mindfulness allows you to realize that your thoughts appear without any intent of your own.
That means that when you have a random desire or thought to pick up a cigarette or a bag of chips, you can understand that the thought wasn’t your own. When you think in this manner, it becomes easier to let go of that desire as you can tell disassociate yourself from that random desire to do something.
The last tip for breaking unhealthy cycles is to develop patience. And doing this can be challenging for most people. You can’t expect yourself to break habits and cycles overnight as these are essentially mindless activities that take repetition to change.
The nature of our world today is instant gratification. We are use to things moving with lightening speed, but in reality, making these kind of life changing habits don’t work that fast. We must work to create healthy habits over time and in some cases it will require lots of reinforcement.
As you pay attention to your behaviors, be patient and go easy on yourself. Remember that you’re still likely to fall victim to these behaviors every now and then. That’s okay at the beginning of your efforts as long as you’re still noticing what’s going on. Little by little, you’ll be able to completely break your cycles.
Breaking unhealthy cycles is a process and many of us will find ourselves stuck in cycles of toxic behaviors or habits. If left unchecked, these behaviors affect us and those around us. Sometimes these actions can be allusive as they’re mindless, but once we realize they’re there, we must change them.
Real change requires action that’s different than what we are currently doing and works towards the desired change we want. We must be mindful, patient, and persistent to break these cycles, but once it’s done, our lives and the lives of those closest to us will be happily improved.