Stoptober is all about giving up smoking for 28 days but it got me thinking about what else could be given up for a month. Whether you smoke, overeat, over- think, procrastinate, argue, nail bite or have some other habit that is holding you back why not consider giving it up this month?
Stopping a habit takes focus and perseverance. So ask yourself on a scale of 1 -10 how determined you are to give up. If you are anything less than 10 out of 10 ask yourself why? A habit is an automatic, repetitive pattern that has often been around for some time. Your desire to be free of it has to be stronger than the habit itself.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle
We become so good at the habits we have that we do them unconsciously so one of the most important things we can learn in order to break them is to become aware of how we do our habit. For example, if you currently smoke and your habit is to smoke with your right hand, change to the left. If you have a habit of eating something sweet after your meal, try eating it before your meal.
This enables us to put the habit into our conscious awareness and gives us back the element of choice. Whatever habit you are trying to break you will experience urges and cravings that can have a physical component, be aware and accept that this may happen.
Be patient and gentle with yourself. Your habit has probably been around for a while so it will take time to break free from it. Just keep going and remain focussed and don’t be too hard on yourself if you do have a slip up. The more often you try to give up a habit the more likely you are to succeed.
Treat it like an experiment and be curious and willing to experience your feelings and thoughts. Encourage yourself any time you feel pressured by the habit and understand that it’s a process, just as starting the habit was.
Most of all persevere, you can do it and Stoptober is a great month to start. Good luck and we would love to hear what you’ve decided to break free from.