Over the years we are acquiring learned behaviors, many do not bring any kind of benefits to our well being, so we must get rid of them as much as possible.
Turning away from bad habits, putting aside harmful behaviors, represent the beginning, but it takes decision and disposition not to fall again.
When we fall back into a bad habit that we had previously set aside we are talking about “recidivism”. According to the psychologist Saúl Shiffman, relapses are the constant concern of those who intend to get rid of a bad habit. And rightly so, since 80% of those people return to their wanderings before 90 days.
It matters little what weakness it is; Recidivism can be seen in smokers, drinkers, gamblers and overeaters, as well as compulsive buyers and workaholics.
A bad habit is a learned and automatic behavior that provides pleasure and at the same time discomfort. A bad habit is detrimental in the long run, but it still offers immediate gratification, which anyone tends to look for when feeling stressed.
To get rid of an undesirable habit, it is necessary to unlearn certain behaviors at the same time, and replace them with new ones that are also satisfactory and help to weather the storms of life. It seems difficult; but it is possible to achieve it by stubborn effort.
Many people get over their bad habits. Psychologists treating people with difficult-to-break habits recommend the following strategies:
Make a Plan and Accept it: At some point after giving up your habit, you will be tempted to light a cigarette, have a drink, or binge on cake. Such an impulse, normal and inevitable, can suddenly strike and seem irresistible.
Since tension is often the trigger for relapses, practice relaxation techniques. Imagine yourself in a quiet place. Remember your last vacation. “No matter what technique you use, the bottom line is to make an attempt to overcome temptation, and not passively succumb.
Get new good habits: While you can end your bad habits, you will not be able to do the same with your emotional needs. Give yourself up to alternative activities that give you the same satisfying and immediate results as your previous habit. Set yourself a fitness program, dance with your spouse, practice deep breathing exercises, or whatever, but don’t wait for the urge to relapse.
Ask your relatives and friends for help: For many people, the most effective method of preventing recidivism is to seek support. For this reason groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are successful. Talking about your own temptations with someone who has experienced something similar will surely help you overcome them.
But it is not essential to use an established organization to give this kind of support; family and friends can also provide it.
Set realistic goals: Those who try to shake off a bad habit often make the mistake of setting too remote goals. Psychologists recommend short-term goals to begin with. Anticipate what the outcomes will be like immediately, and make plans.
When you have reached your first goal, review your accomplishments, set new goals for yourself, and set future goals a little longer each time.
Reward yourself. In the process of turning away from a bad habit, of appeasing the urge to fall, alternative rewards are necessary. They don’t have to be extraordinary; “If I faithfully follow my diet for 15 days I will buy a pair of shoes that I like.” Pledging and getting a bonus strengthens the will. With each success it becomes easier to succeed in the next fight.
Moving away from bad habits requires above all a commitment to ourselves, it is necessary to assume a firm and determined attitude so as not to fall again.