Need a smoke, or feel like doing something you know you shouldn’t do? Try a few of these “alternate activities”. Or be creative and come up with something on your own — if you do, would you be so kind as to post it as a reply here? It always helps to have as many suggestions as possible.
See if you can form a new habit. Watch the difference it can make in your day to day life. Good luck!
- Call someone you care about “just to chat”. Tell them you love them.
- Instead of calling, send a text or an email if that is easier. Try reaching out to someone you haven’t been in touch with for a while.
- Maybe you are already with someone! Don’t walk away to get a smoke or snack break. Break the ice instead. Ask how things are going for them. Focus on something or someone besides yourself.
- Keep a journal. Your first entry can start writing about how miserable it makes you to avoid whatever you’re avoiding. But in that same entry, write about things you’ve ‘always wanted to do’: dreams, goals, aspirations, things you thought you never could. In future entries, ask yourself what is standing between you and your dream. It may very well be that you are trapped, at least in part, by your habit. Explore ideas for taking baby steps towards the dream, or downsizing the ideal to a smaller, more accessible version. Let this become your new obsession.
- Driving? Blast your favorite music and sing along at the top of your voice.
- One of my latest favorites in fact comes from a patient who struggles with insomnia. To quiet her mind at night, she goes through the alphabet and thinks up something she is grateful for, for each letter. It doesn’t have to be complicated. She says that if she can’t come up with anything else, she always starts with being grateful for “air.” This struck me as brilliant in its simplicity.
- If smoking is your bad habit of choice, dream up better ways to spend your MONEY. Pack-a-day smokers nowadays are spending an average of $8-10 every single day killing themselves. That is up to $300 a month!! That’s a decent car payment! Treat yourself to a night out every couple of weeks. Imagine what kind of vacation you could go on if you saved up $3600 in a year!
Switching to good habits is anything but easy. Did you know that you are chemically, physiologically programmed against it? Stay tuned to find out why.
In the meantime, don’t wait for the new year. Every day, every moment, every breath is a new chance for a new start. Do you have another one (day, moment, or breath) coming? Take advantage! See you soon.