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Why You Don't Have To Wait Until The New Year To Practice Out With The Old and In With The New

Some people say it takes 21 days to break a habit, but others say it takes 66 days. Either way, it takes a long time and most people give up halfway through. To be honest, it really varies from person to person and depends on how strong or dedicated they are to breaking your old happen This can be applied to anything from chain smoking, drinking alcohol, eating healthy, or--often the strongest of vices--texting an ex.

Breaking a habit takes a good amount of internal reflection, an extremely strong will and some close friends that will straighten you out out when you’re about to fall off the horse. Breaking a nasty habit is not easy, but building a healthier one to replace it is just as challenging.

Every habit has three parts: the stimulant, the action and the result/reward. The stimulant is the first challenge. Whether it is that plate of homemade cookies in the break room you have to walk by to grab your grilled veggies or going to a restaurant that held special meaning in a past relationship, the stimulant is always a test. It will make you want to backtrack and fall back into bad habits immediately, that’s an example of an action. Here is where you choose (or oftentimes your heart chooses for you) what to do as a result of said stimlant. You can eat the entire plate of cookies, call your ex teary eyes. OR you can grab those grilled veggies knowing that 3 o’clock sugar slump won’t hit you. You can go to that restaurant and have a great time with your friends knowing you are stronger because of your past.

If you’re still not following--and I get it if you’re confused, it is sometimes more fun to give into vices, albeit dangerous-- here’s some #RaeChowLanguage to clarify:

Stimulant: Feeling awkward social setting/party

Action: Binge Drinking

Desired Result/Reward: Feeling confident, fearless, happy, etc.

Actual Result/Reward: Saying something you didn’t mean, drunk eating, major hangover, regret

Habit to break: Using alcohol to have fun

After much talk with some of my dear friends, I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to break this habit or form a healthier one, the action must be revised. So for the example above, in order to get that sensation of feeling confident/fearless, you have to change the middle action, like dressing to impress. Now, obviously it’s what’s inside that counts but for the purpose of this example another way to help you feel confident in your own skin is to feel good on the outside and all around. One thing I tend to do is dress in a way that makes me feel the most beautiful (yes this can be sweats). Having this self confidence will naturally radiate to the people around you making you feel like a ~queen~.

It’s impossible to avoid the stimulant, so the only other way is to change the action, therefore you can still be exposed to the stimulant and receive the desired reward but eliminate the negative action and reaction

So obviously this has to tie somehow into relationships or lifestyle bc what kind of inspiraetion article would this be if it didn’t? If you’re like me and every other twenty something year old living on this earth, you’ve experienced heart break at some point in your life. PS, if you haven’t read How to Beat a F*** Boy at His Own Game, you prob should read it here (I talk about all stages of dating someone including the breakup!). Anyways, during your journey there is always that period where you come to the crossroads of: Should I text my ex? There are a million of thoughts running through your head like, what is he/she doing?, Are they thinking about me?, Did they forget who I was?, etc. Let me break it down for you:

Stimulant: Uninvited Reminders (Seeing a picture of you two together, seeing a picture of your ex on social media, going somewhere you both used to go to)

Action: Texting your ex

Desired Results/Reward: Feeling satisfied/confident that they answered; The hope of getting back together; Triggering old memories that once made your heart feel happy ; Hooking up

Actual Result/Reward: Mourning the breakup only to be reminded why you broke up in the first place; not getting the attention you craved and feeling worse about yourself

Habit to Break: Your Ex. (Just kidding, sort of ) The deeper habit to break is to stop using others to make yourself happy. I think that the one of the roots to a successful relationship is to be happy and confident by yourself. Your partner in life should add to your life in a positive way but not be your entire life.

It’s obviously normal and inevitable that when you endure a breakup you will have the urge to text your ex. It’s human nature and if you’ve never had that feeling than honestly are you HUMAN? LMK. The biggest challenge that most people face is to fight the urge to actually text their ex. Seriously though, what is the point? Don’t get me wrong I’ve definitely had way too many shots and have sent snarky “hey, it’s been a while” texts in my time but honestly now thinking about it there literally is no point. What’s done is done, keep it that way.

To most people this sounds so much easier than it actually it is, which is true. This stems from something a bit deeper than feeling the liquid courage of texting your ex for a confident booster. This is rooted from those desired result/rewards that are clouding your judgement and conveniently covering up those actual results/rewards that will ensue.

So here are a couple of actions to swap out to break this habit:

  • Distract yourself. Keep busy, because when your mind has time to wander it usually ends up going somewhere that you don’t want it to go. Put your phone down (no seriously do it) and go for a walk, have a glass of wine, jump on your bed for all I care-- anything to just get your mind off of backsliding into old habits..or DM’s *cue side eyez*

  • Text your bff...or mom? Talk to someone else to fill that attention you are craving. It’ll probably be a way better conversation, too.

  • Hang with your friends. This is probably obvious, but hangout with your best friends. They know you the best and know exactly what to do to get your mind off things. And aren’t afraid to scold you or snap you back into reality.

  • Think about the end result. This is one that I personally use the most. I tend to think what I am trying to gain out of this? If you are trying to fulfill a short term satisfaction of your ex answering or “flirting” with you for 10min, then it’s 100% not worth it. You parted ways for a reason and sometime those reasons are your biggest support system.

Managing bad habits and developing healthier ones is a challenge, whether it’s trying to eat healthier, get fit, or part ways with an ex, it’s not going to be easy. With anything, the right amount of passion and strength needs to be channeled for something to actually change. So take a minute and determine if this action will benefit you.Think about the long term results of your actions and if that is worth it for you and if not make a change, you may surprise yourself.

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