Develop Long-Term Habits

Posted on :  May 28th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Whether you want to build a good habit or a bad habit, the process is exactly the same. While it would be nice to just be able to do everything we want, it is too easy to get distracted or to turn back to habits we have developed over time.

When you are working on rehabilitation from a drug addiction, it is important to know what you need to do to develop habits that keep you away from the thoughts and actions that typically brought you to your addiction. Here are a few ways to get the good habits started so they really do stick:

Make a 30 Day Commitment: Habits are generally built in approximately three or four weeks. We condition ourselves and the start of the month is the perfect time to start the process. It works with starting a habit and ending a habit, so if you want to break your social media habit, stay off of the sites for a good month and you will no longer feel the need to update your status.

One Day at a Time: When you are trying to build or break a habit, you have to work on it every single day. Those first 30 days are vital to your success. If you want to add exercise to your daily routine, you need to exercise every day for those 30 days. Once you have committed to that time frame, you will build that habit into your daily routine and keep it up indefinitely.

Easy Does It: The famous saying ¨Rome wasn’t built in a day¨ applies to building habits, too. You cannot change your life right away, so start slowly and work your way up to your eventual goal. If you want to run every day, you might have to start running for 15 minutes and add time as you build stamina.

Consistency is Key: It does not matter if you are trying to build a homework habit, exercise habit, or another type of habit, you should designate a time and place. When you do this, every time you see that desk or see the time on the clock, you will feel the urge to do your homework or start exercising. Consistency will eventually trigger the behavior, so you do not have to really think about it much.

Find Friends: Support will help you build the habit or break the habit. It is helpful to have friends who are involved in the same habit so you look forward to seeing them when it is time to run, do homework, or stop smoking.

Fill in the Blanks: All too often, we try to replace bad habits with other habits. This means that you might have to replace something that you need. Maybe you are trying to give up social media. This could result in less time communicating with people you know. To replace that need, you might need to schedule time to talk to your friends during your free time.

Accept Your Flaws: Everyone will make mistakes along the way, so you should not punish yourself if you skip a day of exercising or you forget to complete your homework. You might need to start over another month or you might fail completely. This is ok, because you are human and you will make mistakes. Your failure might lead you to a different type of exercise or to a new way of spending time with friends that you would have missed otherwise.

Butt In: If you start to hear yourself use negative talk, butt in with the word ¨But.¨ Let’s say you are having a difficult time staying off of social media, so you think that you will not be successful in establishing your new habits. Instead of getting down on yourself, say ¨But, I will keep working at it¨ so you can redirect your thoughts and stay positive.

If you have any questions about addiction recovery, contact Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.

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  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.