This post was written by Trevor McDonald.
Instead of committing to do something as part of your New Year’s resolution, why not dedicated yourself to stopping a bad habit?
Most of us have unhealthy or even dangerous habits with roots in our childhood. It can be tough to give up these vices, but not impossible. It takes between one and three months to form (or stop) a habit, which means you’ll be on a more positive path by spring.
Only you know what your most dangerous habits may be. But here are a few of the worst and most common offenders:
1. Ditch your sugar addiction.
Increasingly, studies have shown that sugar addiction can be just as damaging as any other kind of addiction.
Sugar in moderation, and in natural form, isn’t dangerous. However, with so many convenience products packed with added sugar (plus the obesity epidemic) it’s clear that most of us would benefit from decreasing our sugar intake.
When you have a craving, choose a food with natural sugar like a fruit. A very dark chocolate with minimal added sugar can be a form of indulgence, too, and cacao has proven health benefits.
2. Minimize your screen time.
Technology addiction is very real, and very harmful. There are technology addiction treatment centers popping up around the world.
It’s no surprise that Japan has one of the most renowned centers, but they’re becoming unfortunately common in the U.S., too.
Dedicate some time to being “tech free,” turn off the screens at least two hours before bed, and keep your phone out of your bedroom. If you feel like you’re struggling with this addiction, it might be time to see a mental health expert.
3. Let go of passive aggression.
Being passive aggressive doesn’t come with any benefits. If you know you struggle with this crutch, commit to being more forward, honest, and transparent in 2018. Say what you mean and be polite, but don’t try to flank your words in pettiness. This is an incredibly challenging vice to let go of, but all of your relationships (personal and professional) will benefit from it.
4. Stop feeding your ego with quantity-based dating.
If you’re single, there’s a good chance you’re on dating apps and sites.
They can be great ways to meet people, and there’s certainly a time in everyone’s life when a flurry of dates and flirting can be beneficial. However, most people are on apps and sites to find a real connection.
It can be tough to date “just” one person at a time, especially when there are so many options out there. Try focusing your attention on one person at a time, and if you don’t think it’s a match, move on. Forget ghosting or breadcrumbing and date like an adult.
5. Get a good skincare regimen.
Most people could benefit from taking a little better care of their skin, whether it’s washing their face daily or regularly applying sunscreen.
You can get a jump on ditching this bad habit by scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist. An annual mole check is the best way to prevent melanoma or treat it early. Plus, a skincare regimen when you wake up and right before bed is a great way to increase energy in the mornings and optimize sleep hygiene at night.
6. Stop those poor sleep habits.
Most Americans are chronically tired and don’t get the quality or quantity of sleep they need.
Eight hours is just an average. Some people need more or less, and some people do better with a long block of uninterrupted sleep while others prefer naps throughout a 24-hour period.
Pick up better sleep hygiene like setting a soothing bedtime ritual and making sure your sleep space is dark, cool, and quiet.
7. Leave the excuses in 2017.
We all carry around excuses for why we don’t work towards or achieve our various goals. Lack of time, energy, and money are the biggest ones.
Whether you want to run a marathon in 2018, leave the job you hate, or travel to India, the biggest obstacles are the excuses you’ve set up for yourself. Dismantle them and come up with an actionable plan to get your goals in motion.
8. Reserve the “sorries” for when you really mean it.
We say “sorry” far too often. We also usually don’t mean it and use it for everything from not hearing someone to saying it sarcastically.
“I’m sorry” are two very important words that should be reserved only for when you mean them. Keep an ear out for whenever you catch yourself saying “sorry” and figure out what you really meant to say instead.
What are some of the worst habits you’d like to break in 2018? It might be chewing your nails, not washing your bedding on a regular basis, or lessening your alcohol intake. Any time of year is the perfect time to better your habits, but the New Year gives us all a great starting point.