There are plenty of obstacles that stand in our way of taking a healthy approach to life. While some of these roadblocks are uncontrollable, the majority of bad habits can be changed–if you want to make a change. Unhealthy habits usually offer no benefit to our overall health, and the more you indulge in them, the more damage they can do to your body. Plus, the longer you practice unhealthy habits, the harder they become to break. But doing away with the bad and exchanging it for the good is important in the quest to age later.
Two known habits that can drastically hinder your health are tobacco and alcohol, and both fall into the “bad habit” category. Even if you do live a fairly healthy life and make healthy choices, smoking and/or excessive drinking will limit or negative the effects of healthier decisions, and will always put you at higher risk for a range of diseases.
To some people. these bad habits may not seem like a big deal. After all, we’re not that far removed from eras where people routinely smoked cigarettes on television and where the three-martini lunch was socially acceptable. But, these habits are responsible for millions of premature deaths. Smokers die, on average, at least 10 years earlier than non-smokers. People with alcohol dependency die, on average, more than seven years earlier than those who consume little or no alcohol.
Smoking is an efficient way to populate your body with poisons that work together to damage your body cells and DNA, dramatically affect your skin quality, increase your blood pressure and cause life-threatening diseases. Plus, smokers look older than they may be because smoking accelerates aging. Excessive alcohol consumption isn’t any better: it can lead to liver damage and cancers, diminish brain functioning, cause weight gain and high blood pressure, increase risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes and pave the way for depressive tendencies.
Quitting is hard–if it was easy, everyone would do it. But trying to stop is the first step on the path to getting healthy. While there are several different solutions used to try and kick a bad habit, you have to be ready and willing to lay down the bad habit. One method that’s frequently used to kick bad habits in some professional therapy approaches is a form of Behavioral Modification Therapy. For example, Behavioral Reversal Therapy involves keeping track of the cues that cause you to think if doing something and then replacing the bad habit with something else. Another approach is Motivational Interviewing, in which the therapist works with the client to reposition the habit.
For some people, kicking the worst of their habits will be, perhaps, the most difficult step. For others, the timing might be perfect. Perhaps, they’ve been psychologically ready to make the change, but they just needed the push. Either way, you can make the healthy choices you need to make. Whatever you do, press on with following healthy living choices and instilling healthy habits. You may find they help build motivation to help you kick your bad habits.