The habit alchemist

I'm a creature of habit. I have always had vices that run deep through my life. These were usually unhealthy things that I would rely on to feel better.

I remember one time when I cleaned my room I there were ninety eight empty pop cans. I counted.

I would binge on cookies and whatever television show I was currently watching. I also had a bad habit of putting passive aggressive posts on Facebook.

When I would take a second to think about it, I hated the fact that I did these things. I would try quitting these vices cold turkey, but the habits were ingrained into me.

I decided that instead of trying to get rid of my habits, I would transform them.

Like an alchemist, one by one I turned each habit into a more positive version of itself. I wrote down the three habits I wanted to change and I got to work.

1.) Drinking pop

2.) Binging on unhealthy foods and shows.

3.) Putting passive aggressive posts on Facebook.

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Instead of drinking pop I decided that I would drink tea.

Every time I craved a pop I would make myself a tea. I realized that I didn't want the pop itself, I just wanted a drink that I considered a treat.

At first I had a lot of milk and sugar in my tea, but eventually the milk started to upset my stomach so I had to transform the habit once again. I switched from regular tea, to green tea. I had heard that green tea was good for you so it seemed like a logical step.

After a while of drinking tea like this I tried switching from sugar to honey. It wasn't as sweet but people told me that honey was extremely healthy for you. I still have a habit, I have up to five teas a day, but now at least it isn't five pops a day.

The next habit I had to deal with was binging on tv shows and unhealthy foods.

This was my favorite way to relax. I thought really hard about what I actually wanted from this pass time. It wasn't the food or the shows itself, it was just something to take my mind off the day.

I tried watching shows without eating anything, but that failed quickly as I realized that I needed to be doing something at the same time or I would get antsy.

I banned myself from buying the snacks I usually ate and instead I bought nuts and plantain chips. To my surprise I enjoyed eating these things while I watched shows just as much as I enjoyed the cookies, and I didn't feel as bad afterwards.

At this point I still felt like this pass time was a waste of time. I wasn't gaining anything. From then on, every time I wanted to watch a show I would reach for a book instead.

Now I had one more habit that I wanted to deal with.

I wanted to stop putting angsty, childish posts on Facebook.

Every time I was angry or hurt or upset, I would post some emotional garbage on Facebook. I always regretted it the next day.

Once again I thought about what I really got out of posting these things.

When I was brooding over a situation I would feel like I had no way to release the pressure. That is what these posts gave me. A release.

I picked a different release. Anytime I wanted to post something on Facebook that I would inevitably regret, I would reach for a pen and write something.

It could be a poem, it could be a rap verse, it could be anything as long as I got to express the frustration I felt.

Those writings eventually turned into the blog you see today and largely influenced my decision to try to help others with their own frustrations and problems.

You can mold your habits to help you, rather than hinder you.

Whenever you have a bad habit, think about what it is that you are actually craving and try to find a less destructive way of obtaining that feeling.

If you are a smoker ask yourself why you smoke. Is it to relieve stress? If so, think about taking baths, listening to calming music, or deep breathing exercises.

If it is because you have an oral fixation, try chewing gum.

If it's because you enjoy the social aspect of going out for smokes, try just going out and talking. You don't need to smoke to converse.

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I'll never be able to live a life without habits.

I will try to use my habits to my advantage. I plan on making them as healthy as possible throughout my life. I'm not saying I am perfect, I falter all the time.

I spent a whole day this week watching game of thrones and eating chips. All we can do is take things one step at a time and be proud of the progress we are making. Regardless of how slowly we move forward.