Though resolutions are a fantastic motivation to make healthier changes in life, these drastic decisions statistically don’t last past February. The problem is usually not the will to carry out the plan, but the method used to do so. Many people go cold turkey in an effort to embrace the spirit of the New Year and create a new persona. Cold turkey is usually only good for one thing, and that’s post-Christmas sandwiches. Having stated that, of course it is possible to drop unhealthy habits by diving in head first, it’s just highly unlikely that it results in a longterm lifestyle change.
In order to really keep up with your intentions, you’ve got to go for the marathon run, not the sprint. It’s also got to be a change made in the right state of mind. Not a fad diet to get skinny, or an intense exercise routine that’s probably going to leave you injured. And if you’ve been a smoker for the majority of your life, for example, going from half a pack a day (or more), to giving up entirely, might not be the smartest option.
What to drop:
Unhealthy habits N°1
Time for another whack at dropping the cancer-inducing, smelly-breath causing, unnecessary habit. They say there’s no time like the present, so even if you didn’t have intentions of stopping, why not give it a go and see how much money you can save this year? Not only is smoking extremely unhealthy and costly, but it’s been out of fashion for about 10 years now, and frowned upon for at least 5.
If kicking this habit to the curb is on your to-do list for this year, we recommend you try the “quarter-stop.” This is when you smoke a quarter less of your usual intake for the first month of the New Year, then drop that another quarter for the following month. That means by February 1st you will be smoking exactly half of your norm. Follow this quarter-stop until you’ve nothing left to drop. To fill in the gaps of missing cigarettes, try chewing gum or sucking on boiled sweets (the sugar-less kind).
Letting your body naturally wean off the nicotine and ride it through is ideal, however if you find it’s getting unbearable, try nicotine gum or patches. Alternatively, if you take our Stop Smoking Course, you’ll have all the necessary tools to rid yourself of its clutches entirely.
Here at The School of Natural Health Sciences we have a dedicated course to those wanting to quit smoking and help others in doing so. Our Stop Smoking course is a 9 lesson diploma correspondent course, which upon successful completion will entitle you to an internationally-recognised diploma. As a practitioner, the subject content will enable you to understand the type of smoker you are dealing with, and the appropriate procedures to follow in order to help them break their addictive cycle. Among the course topics are:
- Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
- Desensitisation to Triggers
- Positive and Changing Anchors
- Visualisations and Reduction Suggestions
- Reinforcement Plans and Hypnotic Aversion.
There is much to learn and discover when it comes to addiction and cessation. Conveniently, this course teaches therapeutic hypnotic intervention, so it can be tailored to any addictive habit, not just smoking. With this new skill, you can provide a valued additional treatment option for personal use or as part of your practice.
Unhealthy habits – N°2
(This is going to be a tough one for me, because one of my happy places involves chit-chat over donuts and coffee). Banning snacks entirely is definitely not the aim here, in fact healthy snacking is actually important for maintaining our blood sugar levels throughout the day. The issue with snacking occurs when the options are not doing the body much good. That doesn’t mean you need to survive on fruit and oat crackers, but do stay away from anything delightfully delicious and sinfully high in artery-clogging calories.
That means a massive cut down of fried foods, buttery biscuits, pastries and candy bars. This is essential not just for a better-looking physique but better-looking arteries. Bad cholesterol is no joke, and you don’t have to be fat to be affected by it. Another great way to naturally reduce built-up cholesterol is with cardio. If you can get yourself out of breath for 20 consecutive minutes each day, you greatly reduce your risk of heart disease.
Unhealthy habits N°3
Throughout 2016 you may have come across a bunch of conflicting information regarding the health benefits of coffee. The brown stuff has it’s good and bad sides, but the main problem is the quantity people are consuming. Coffee is very high in caffeine, which is a stimulant to the central nervous system and can cause mild physical dependence, but more importantly, strong psychological dependence.
The physical dependency can result in withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, lethargy, irritability, nausea, concentration issues and other problems. People start depending on coffee to wake them up in the mornings, even though the body is very capable of doing that without shots of caffeine to the system. Drinking coffee throughout the day is also not ideal, as it’s a diuretic, meaning it flushes out fluids and nutrients which we don’t want to lose. Oh, and don’t get me started on teeth-staining.
This year, try switching out your usual brew for herbal teas, fresh juices and infused water. We love lemon and cucumber infused water at the office! Easy, fresh, reviving and delicious. Just place a few slices of lemon and cucumber into a cool jug of water and let the infusing take care of itself.
Unhealthy habits N°4
2016 has been the year of extreme screen time. The iPads, touch screens, laptops, desktops, TVs, and even watches now have interactive screens! The apps, selfies, movies, workload, blogging, Netflix & chilling, social media updating, youtube followings, article surfing and more has caused our screen time to be at an all-time high. Giving up screens is not the answer, and modern technology is not the problem either. We just have to be mindful of the amount of time we’re spending on our black mirrors, and make sure we’re living most of our life away from virtual reality. We need to be especially mindful if our jobs require us to be in front of a screen for the majority of the day.
Unhealthy habits N°5
Making excuses for toxic people
Whether it’s a relative, best friend, persistent ex, or new acquaintance. The excuses need to stop. Don’t be influenced by their poor choices, and don’t allow them to waltz in and out of your life leaving a trail of mess and contradicting feelings. It is far better to be alone, than to dedicate your time, energy, and God forbid your money, to someone who’s just not good for you. Determining whether someone is toxic or not is really quite easy. Ask yourself these initial questions:
- Does this person truly care about my wellbeing?
- Does this person respect my body, space and belongings?
- Does this person reach out only when they need something?
- Does this person drain me of vitality, and leave me feeling bitter/annoyed/insecure or bankrupt?
Part of life is learning when someone is using or abusing you. It sucks when you’ve let someone like that in, and the toxicity may happen slowly over time. Meanwhile, whilst you’re making excuses and finding yourself in their company time and time again, a sticky relationship is being built that may seem hard to break away from. This year, to hell with the opinions of others, if someone isn’t worth keeping around, burn that bridge to the ground in the best way you know how. I like the gradual fade-out and eventual blocking off social media. Less drama that way.
Be vigilant, because allowing unhealthy habits to gain even a small foothold in your life can strip away your joie de vivre. Here’s to an exuberant and healthy 2017!