As another year is quickly winding down before our eyes, I know many of us think about the ways we want to be better next year. To do this, I find it’s really helpful to take time to intentionally reflect on the past 12 months. I like to focus first on the positives and all the things that went well. And then I turn my attention to what I need to continue working on. This requires digging a little deeper to face the truth about any bad habits I’m guilty of.
Doing this kind of review allows me to celebrate the good things I experienced as well as owning up to the not-so-good ones. I use this information to create my “Stop-Start Plan” for the year ahead which is like a road map that helps me release bad habits from my life and replace them with healthier ones.
Which of These Bad Habits Do You Have? (Some Might Not Be So Obvious)
All of us make mistakes, hit bumps in the road, and struggle with less-than-ideal habits that don’t serve us well. That’s why I think it’s so useful to identify the specific things we’re doing that are holding us back, so we know what course corrections are needed.
Take a look at this list and see which of these unhealthy behaviors and habits you’ve been doing—be honest with yourself:
- Always comparing yourself to others
- Avoiding your regular check-ups at the doctor and dentist
- Being overly self-critical
- Binge-watching TV and spending too much time on the couch
- Drinking too much booze, smoking, vaping, or using recreational drugs
- Ignoring your mental health issues
- Letting others treat you like a doormat
- Negative thinking and a tendency to focus on the bad and distressing things in life
- Not getting regular exercise
- Saying yes when you want to say no
- Staying in toxic relationships
- Stress eating (you reach for food whenever you’re overwhelmed or anxious)
While all of these are unhealthy habits and behaviors, it can be harder to recognize the ones that go on inside your head. However, they can be just as detrimental as the physical ones like too much partying and eating junk food.
Switch out the Bad for the Good
So, here’s my challenge to you:
Find 3 bad habits you have in the list above (or any other ones you have) and commit to switching them out for 3 healthier habits that will help you feel better, stronger, and more confident. Here are some I highly recommend:
- Exercise your brain by taking a class to learn something new.
- Fit workouts and physical activities into your weekly schedule, and don’t cancel them.
- Get out of any relationships that are unhealthy, draining, or unstable.
- Increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
- Learn how to cook healthier meals.
- Make time for hobbies you love.
- Practice setting healthy boundaries with others.
- Schedule time for self-care every week—no, it’s not selfish!
- Spend at least 10 minutes each day doing some meditation, so you feel more grounded, relaxed, and clear.
- Start being kinder to yourself.
- Take your mental and physical health issues seriously. No one else can do this for you.
- Use a journal regularly to help you manage your thoughts, fears, and worries.
Sometimes it can feel daunting to even think about stopping the unhealthy habits that you’re used to, but when you start healthier ones to fill the void, it becomes so much easier. Yes, this requires practice and discipline, but when you commit to taking better care of yourself, it sends signals to your brain that help to reinforce the positive changes you’re making.
I encourage you to take the steps needed to help yourself feel healthier and happier in the year ahead. I believe you can do this because you’re stronger than you know!
For more inspiration, order my newest book, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child: How Persistence, Grit, and Faith Created a Reluctant Healer.
If you’re struggling and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.