Advertising
Advertising

4 Tips for Breaking Bad Habits

4 Tips for Breaking Bad Habits

Do you find yourself unconsciously biting your nails, fidgeting, procrastinating, or reaching for a cigarette? Have you ever tried to quit, only to relapse within a few days? You’re not alone. Many people unknowingly acquire bad habits that continue for months, or even years, and never do anything to change their life. But no matter how long you’ve harbored your habit, you can always break free. Here’s a short list of the most effective ways to break any bad habit.

1. Awareness

The first step to breaking a habit is to become aware of its existence. Surprisingly, many people never reach this step; some habits form as early as childhood, often picked up from mimicking parents or guardians, and seem completely normal. These habits are the hardest to break, and you may require a little help from your friends and loved ones. Ask them if they’ve ever noticed any bad habits of yours (they’ll want to know of theirs, too). Once you’ve become aware of the habit, visualize yourself in a tempting situation and mentally practice good behavior over the bad habit. If you can dream it, you can do it.

Advertising

2. Cold Turkey

If you’re well aware of your habit and it still gets the better of you, you may need to rearrange your life a little bit. Try tracking your habit: keep a list of when, where, and why your habit appears so you can more effectively remove the behavior from your life. This may mean taking different routes to work or school, or avoiding certain people who tend to bring out your bad side for a while, until you feel confident that the habit is kicked. If your habit involves substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, or marijuana, this means immediately and completely abstaining from it, and even suffering through withdrawal. But this is good; it’s the first step in becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Advertising

3. The Tier Method

Self-control is like a muscle that needs to be strengthened through practice. If you find that you can’t give up a habit in one fell swoop — which can actually increase cravings and put you at risk for relapse — you may need to wean yourself off of a certain behavior. The most popular way of doing this is by systematically cutting back your intake by half at regular intervals. For example, if you’re used to drinking 30 beers a week, force yourself to only drink 15 for a given period of time. Eventually, when you feel you’re ready, lower it to 7-8, then 3-4, etc. until you’re no longer compelled to overindulge and you can exert control over your habit. By putting your habit (or addiction) in hindsight, you’ll begin to see the beauty of the present moment (most addicts are blind) and enjoy a new-found freedom of choice.

Advertising

4. Replacement

Now that you’ve become aware of your habit and are taking steps to remove it from your everyday life, you must ensure that the habit won’t ever return. Withdrawal from any activity causes the reward centers in our brain to crave stimulation, even if it’s negative or harmful, so you must counteract this with positive replacements such as hobbies, physical activities, or creativity. How do you fulfill yourself? People overcome with bad habits don’t believe in themselves enough to change; every day you must consciously choose to be the person you want to be. A morning stretch is a much better habit than that first cigarette of the day, don’t you think?

However helpful these tips are, the most important part of breaking a bad habit for good is really wanting to quit on a deep personal level in order to move on with your life. Most people have to hit a “rock bottom,” when their lives have become so desperate that they have no choice but to face their problems or suffer dire consequences. But you don’t have to. Just think about how much better your life will be without your bad habit, and start making a change today.

Advertising

More by this author

5 Reasons Why Diets Fail 4 Tricks for Twitter Marketing 4 Tips for Breaking Bad Habits 5 Ways to Become a Better Reader 7 WARNING Signs You’re Addicted to Technology

Trending in Lifestyle

1 11 Simple and Effective Ways to Manage Stress 2 Causes of Insomnia and How to Overcome It (The Complete Guide) 3 10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day 4 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away 5 10 Most Entertaining Things To Do During A Long Journey

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

Advertising

2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

Advertising

Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

ablab

    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

    Advertising

    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

    Advertising

    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next