We all have habits. Some are healthy and useful like having open communication with others or keeping a journal for your daily experience and thoughts. But other habits, such as self-sabotaging behaviors or using work to avoid your relationship problems, can become a toxic cycle if they are not addressed.
Breaking toxic habits can be difficult at first but it is possible with the right mindset and the right course of action. If you want to break a toxic habit, try these tips and remember, it is a process that requires accountability and consistency!
1. Identify your triggers. Track your habit for a few days and identify the patterns you see such as what time of day the toxic behavior usually occurs and what you are thinking and feeling when it occurs. If the triggers are something you can change or remove, that will help you to avoid repeating the behavior. If the triggers are not something you can avoid or remove, recognizing what triggers the toxic behavior will help you to get ahead of the problem and be prepared to stand your ground when a triggering situation arises.
2. Focus on the WHY. Identify WHY you want to break this toxic pattern and write those reasons down. Remind yourself of that whenever you start to feel the urge to repeat the toxic behavior. Leave sticky notes or reminders for yourself so you stay connected to your why and focused on your original intention every day.
3. Practice mindfulness. Pay attention to your daily routine and the way the toxic behavior impacts your wellbeing. When you fully realize the way a certain negative impacts the habit is having on your life, you will be more motivated to change that behavior. If you encounter a setback, use that as a learning experience and ask yourself what you could have done differently in that situation and what you can do in the future to set yourself up for success. Staying mindful and connected to the process is much more important than getting it right on the first try.
4. Change your environment. When you find yourself thinking about old habits, go for a walk or a drive until the feeling passes. If you notice a certain place or person or activity triggers the unwanted behavior, make a conscious effort to change up your routine to avoid those triggers. Small additions to your environment that promote replacing a bad habit with a healthy habit are also useful. For example, if you are trying to reduce your evening screen time, place a book to read or a journal to write in on your nightstand or coffee so you have something to reach for besides your phone or laptop before going to sleep.
5. Reach out for support. Tell a friend or loved one about the change that you are making and ask them to be available should you need support, and ask them to hold you accountable if they notice you repeating the toxic behavior pattern. If you are trying to break a habit while dealing with other challenges such as relationship problems or health problems, you may want to enlist the help of a professional so you can reach your goal without adding extra stress to an already stressful situation.
It might not seem like it in the beginning stages but after some time, the toxic behavior will feel less automatic and eventually it will be replaced by new, healthier habits. Just be sure you are replacing the toxic behavior with a healthy behavior and not trading one bad habit for another. And remember, when you are going through the process of breaking a toxic pattern, it is so important to be patient with yourself and prioritize self-care and wellness.
If you feel like you need additional support or direction to rid yourself of a toxic habit, coaching can help! Reach out to me any time to schedule a FREE consultation so we can get you on the right track to a healthier, more fulfilling life! 😊💕