We are all addicted to something. Some of us are addicted to fear and negative thinking, other are addicted to food or alcohol. And so on. Whether you are dealing with a nagging bad habit or a full-blown addiction, here are five steps to can help you break addictive behavior.
1. Take inventory. Every addictive pattern has a trigger. This trigger tells your brain to engage in the addictive habit. Make it a ritual to take inventory each day to identify what is triggering you to engage in the behavior. From there, you can make a plan to use alternative methods of soothing.
2. Focus on what you want most, not want you want right now. We fail to overcome our addictive patterns because we get stuck in the moment of instant gratification instead of the long term pleasure of the outcome we so badly desire. Visualize the outcome of your life without this pattern, and get emotionally connected to why you so badly want it. This will help you step out of the habit and see the greater picture!
3. Out yourself and get support. Whether it’s an addiction to sugar or just general overeating, support and accountability are a must for times when we are feeling vulnerable and weak. Lean on a loved one and ask them to keep you accountable. Share with them what you would like to accomplish and how they can support you moving forward. Plan doing positive things together that fulfill a creative outlet. Try cooking with your friends to make it a fun activity, not a chore!
4. Write yourself a peace treaty. The person we are usually meanest to is ourselves. We will never win a battle when we are fighting against ourselves. There has to be a loser and that loser is… you. Time to make peace with yourself, and quiet that “mean girl or guy” voice in your mind. Write yourself a letter declaring peace. Apologize for past behavior and move forward with clarity. This is a very powerful exercise and a declaration of self love and acceptance. This is a huge step towards falling back in love with yourself.
5. Have an arsenal of alternative ways of soothing. When we eat, we are eating emotion. The reason we do anything, quite frankly, is to change an emotion that gets us closer to happiness. When you are in the midst of your addictive pattern, ask yourself “What emotion am I trying to change?”. Make a list of tools that you can use to change your emotions when you need a lift. Instead of asking yourself “What do I want to do/eat?”, ask yourself, “How do I want to feel?”.
The most important aspect of overcoming addictive patterns is a strong desire for positive change. If you have an addictive pattern that blocks you from living your best life and you struggle with still enjoying certain aspects of the reward it provides you, then don’t try to rush the process. Use these tools to identify how this habit manifests in your daily life. Continue to focus on your outcome and reflect on the pleasure that is holding you back from making a change. Only through mindfulness and truthful inventory will you get to the place of freedom.
We believe that with freedom comes a love affair with the healthy you.
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