OUT WITH THE OLD, In With the New Breaking bad habits without the stress

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As 2017 turns into 2018, many people will use the new year as an opportunity to start breaking bad habits. Here at ing Magazine, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions to make kicking old habits teasier and more fun!

  1. Set a list of personal goals

It’s impossible to start getting rid of bad habits if you don’t know what habits you’re trying to break. To get started, make a specific list of what it is you’re trying to stop doing: biting your nails, watching too many YouTube videos, sleeping in too late or any other small thing you’d like to cut back on. The process of creating the list of habits to break is vital; writing out your goals will help you to visualize what you hope to achieve and help you organize your thoughts. Make this list short! Don’t try to come up with more than one or two habits to focus on breaking at a time. Doing so can get overwhelming and be counterproductive. 

  1. Create a goal chart

After this list has been created, try making a goal calendar. After each day of successfully avoiding a bad habit, check that day off with a big checkmark or even a fun sticker. Keeping a calendar like this is a gentle, stress-free way to remind yourself of your goal, and it’s exciting to see your calendar fill up with days full of achievement. If you’re trying to stop biting your nails, for example, each day you avoid biting your nails gets a check. By the end of a week, it will be so satisfying to see each day filled with the mark
of success! 

  1. Reward yourself

Do this often and with pride. Breaking a bad habit should not be a painful process that offers no enjoyment. Did you avoid sleeping in too late over the weekend? Buy that shirt you’ve been wanting! Did you stop picking your split ends for a week? Devour some delicious chocolate. It’s important to continually praise your own success because quitting bad habits is exhausting work. To stay up to the task, keep reminding yourself it’s worth the effort by treating yourself when you succeed. 

  1. Go easy on yourself

One mistake is by no means the end of the world. Biting off a hangnail after avoiding chewing your nails for two weeks does not mean all your work is for nothing. Sleeping in past noon one Saturday does not mean you’re doomed to do so every Saturday after that. Be forgiving, yet don’t forget that breaking any habit takes time and patience. 

  1. Ask others for advice

There’s no shame in asking loved ones for advice. Friends and family are always there for you and are willing to help you break habits. Get a friend who wants to quit watching too much TV and make it a friendly competition of who can avoid binge watching the most over the course of a week. Ask your parents if they have any tips, too. Most importantly, however, don’t be afraid to reach out if you can’t break a certain habit on your own or if you’re struggling with a more challenging problem. The MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Center is always available for counseling, no matter the problem. If you need more information, you can contact the office at caps@msu.edu. The counselors there are always happy to help.

Hopefully, this list can help you get a good start on breaking your bad habits during 2018. The staff at ing Magazine wishes you the best of luck in quitting your unwanted habits this season!