6 steps to changing a bad habit
Most people will have had a bad habit at some point in their lives. It can be distressing to feel like you have no control over your actions, almost as if the habit is more powerful than you are. But fear not, help is at hand. With a little application, following these six steps will help you permanently change your habit…
1) Motivate yourself
Habits are easy to acquire, and hard to shake. In order to put the effort in, you need to be motivated. What are your reasons for wanting to change your habit? Is it embarrassing? Childish? Are you tired of feeling powerless and out of control? Write a list of all the reasons you can think of to change your habit, no matter how big or small. Then write a list of reasons to continue. Compare the lists.
2) Build your awareness
When do you do your habit? Is it when you’re stressed and working to a deadline? Or is sitting on the sofa, your hands dangerously idle? The more you recognise the patterns of your habit, the more you know the times when you need to be especially mindful of what you’re doing.
3) Pick the right moment
Studies show that you only have limited reserves of willpower, so use it wisely. If you’re fighting battles on several fronts, then perhaps this is not the right time for you to add more to your plate.
4) Develop a counter-response
Whether it’s taking a breath, telling yourself that you’re in control, or making a fist so you can’t pull at your hair/bite your nails/pick your skin.
5) Be persistent!
Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you expect perfection immediately, the chances are you’ll end up disappointed. But if you treat this as a learning experience, you can know that making mistakes is simply part of the process.
6) Reward yourself
Use positive reinforcement to reward yourself for the efforts you make. If you bite your nails, perhaps you could treat yourself to a manicure to show off your newly-elegant hands.
All of this can be done with or without hypnosis. However, hypnosis is a powerful ally. Well-crafted hypnotic suggestions help you believe on a deeper level that you are capable of breaking your habit, and doing imagery work under hypnosis helps you to rehearse challenging situations and see yourself dealing with them positively.
So whether you do so on your own or with help from your local hypnotherapist, I wish you all the best in finally ridding yourself of any troublesome habits.
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About Philip Makatrewicz
Philip is a cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist based in Crystal Palace, South London. His evidence-based approach grounded in the latest scientific research. He opposes short term fixes in favour of helping clients create meaningful, lasting change in their lives.