Everyone develops bad habits at some point. The key is figuring out how to break them and replace them with better habits. These bad and involuntary habits can cause all sorts of problems for you and may end up sabotaging your chances of reaching your weight loss goals after bariatric surgery. It’s important, then, to figure out how best to address and replace your bad habits.
Steps to Breaking Bad Habits
Make a list of your bad habits
Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what bad habits you have since they can be involuntary and you may not even realize you have them. Once you’ve identified your bad habits, write them down. You don’t have to try to fix all of them at once, and in fact, it may be easier to focus on them one at a time, starting with the habits that you’re currently willing to change. Keep the list on hand, though, for the future.
Identify the consequences of your bad habit
Say, for example, that the bad habit you want to change is a sedentary lifestyle. Think of all of the negative consequences that have happened or will happen as a result of it. This would include decreased energy levels, weight gain, increased risk for developing health problems and low motivation for fitness or physical activity.
Identify the benefits of your bad habit
What does this habit do for you that you enjoy? In the case of a sedentary lifestyle, it may give you more opportunities to work, or you might just not enjoy exercising, preferring to spend time watching television or browsing the Internet.
Identify the benefits of changing your bad habit
What would you gain by changing your habit? In the example of a sedentary lifestyle, you would reap the benefits of:
- Heightened energy levels
- Improved blood circulation
- Improved heart and bone health
- Improved mod
- Heightened self-esteem
- Improved weight control
Decide whether it’s worth it to change the habit
At this point you can figure out whether or not you should change your habit by weighing the pros and cons. As far as a sedentary lifestyle goes, you may come to the conclusion that you value the rewards and benefits of a more active lifestyle. Figure out what you have to do to change your habit. Will you wake up a bit earlier and go for a short walk in the mornings? Or maybe you’ll implement more incidental activity into your daily life, such as taking the stairs over the elevator or walking farther distances in the parking lot instead of parking close to the building. Make a list of what you’ll need to do and set goals for yourself so that you know how to make healthy improvements for your life every day.
Changing the habit
If you’ve come to the conclusion that your habit is worth changing, you’ll have to make a conscious effort to make the change. Many experts agree that it takes about three to four weeks of daily repetition of a new habit to change or break an old habit. When trying to change a habit, it’s useful to celebrate small victories and replace negative attitudes with positive affirmation. You might backslide, but treat every day as a new opportunity to make healthy changes to your life and reflect on all of the positive changes that you’ve already made.