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‘To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear’. Buddha.

Unhealthy living habits are an important factor that negatively impacts your wellbeing and interrupts a healthy life. They prevent you from accomplishing your goals and improving lifestyle, jeopardizing both mental and physical welfare. Nonetheless, they are a complete waste of your time and energy. Switching to new habits and adopting a healthier lifestyle will protect you from severe health issues and acute diseases like diabetes, obesity, depression, heart disease, high cholesterol and more.

Smoking, breathing on junk food, being a couch potato, skimping on sleep, avoiding exercise and midnight snacking. All of these practices possess a superficial appeal but when incorporated into your lifestyle as a day-to-day habit, they can cause serious setbacks.

Lifestyle changes is a gradual process and require support. Once you are committed to introduce a positive change in your lifestyle, plan your way forward, do your research and organize the steps that you need to take. Carefully formulate a plan to replace your bad habits as old habits die hard and eliminating them involves going through several stages. You may face blockades along the way to change your bad habits into new healthy habits. However, after a while, these changes may become a part of your daily routine.

But what are the real world unhealthy living habits, why do we have them and most importantly how to move towards a better ‘You’ are some thought provoking questions around here. Making a lifestyle change is challenging, especially when you are dealing with ‘Stress’. Hence, in such a condition, knowing that you need a change isn’t enough to motivate yourself to do so. You need a solid reason to give up a bad habit.

Bad habits develop out of two core reasons, ‘boredom or stress’. These are some common unhealthy lifestyle choices that people often choose when bored or stressed;

Smoking, drinking alcohol, eating junk, staying plugged in. Avoiding exercise. Keeping up all night. And many more. These habits are simply a way to respond to your boredom or stress in the easiest way, without having to think twice before including them into your routine.  However, these are the worst habits that puts an end to your wellbeing.

People often think; what one or two unhealthy living habits should they change first?

There is no specific answer to it. All bad habits are important to abandon. Choosing any one bad habit to quit amongst many, is a personal choice. It all goes down to the fact that you need to evaluate which unhealthy habit has the most adverse effects on your life. Every person is different and only you can figure out what works for you. For example, for some people, it may be important to cut down on smoking or drinking to ease the lungs or liver disorders or perhaps cut down on junk food to minimize high cholesterol or release the symptoms of heart disease.

With that said, if you followed the steps below, and worked to develop these practices, you’d probably do pretty well.

  • The first step is to list down your bad habit(s) and identify the major bad habit that is causing adverse health effects to you.

The primary step require you to identify the bad habit(s) and how it satisfies your need. Identify the major bad habit that is draining your health, followed by other ones. For example, for some people eating junk food or smoking diverts their mind away from stress. You can identify the adverse effects it has to your physical and mental wellbeing and decide on to abandon it rather than falling deeper into its trap. 

  • Go about recognizing the causes behind your bad habit which is crucial to overcoming it efficiently.

 This step is important to understand. You need to recognize that how is your habit serving you? Do you want to alleviate your stress through eating, or want an outlet through drinking or perhaps staying up late at night helps you deal with boredom? You can easily figure out whether a certain habit is due to stress, boredom or simply an escape.

  • You need to understand that your health, energy level, or overall wellbeing will improve if you develop new habits.

 Now that you have identified your unhealthy living habits, its cause and how it adversely effects your overall wellbeing, it is now time to acknowledge your wisdom. Inside your head, you know that your bad habit is draining you. It is now time to recognize the fact that leaving your bad habit will only result into good for you, and nothing less. You are capable of turning the tables for yourself and improving your life for good.

  • Try to replace your bad habit with a healthy one.

Trying to stop your bad habit is not an easy job and rather takes a longer time to eliminate it from your life. Hence, replacing a bad habit with a good one is relatively more effective as now you have something better to do and not rethink to switch back again. You can replace the ‘junk food’ with healthy and nutritious food choices. How about picking up a protein bar next time or substituting wine with a smoothie?

  • A good way to get yourself going is to figure out what benefits you’ll get when you change your habits.

Focus on the long term benefits that you’ll get while substituting your unhealthy habits with healthy ones. Investing your time in exercising rather than being a lazy couch potato will act as an energy booster, enhancing your overall health. Remembering the benefits that you’ll gain out of the healthy habits will help you not to lose your track.

  • You will have slip-ups but once you commit, you will be able to get past them and make progress, eliminating the unhealthy habit from your lifestyle.

Breaking unhealthy and bad habits takes time, effort and most importantly, determination. You might have slip-ups or fail multiple times before you reach your goal, but practice makes you perfect! You cant achieve anything right away but when you hold fast, you eventually experience success. Persistence with new behaviors ultimately transforms into a habit.

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