Breaking the vicious cycle holding your life back
PHILADELPHIA, PA.; February 21, 2012 (WPVI) -- Dead-end jobs, a string of failed relationships, and that feeling life is passing you by. All are signs your life is being weighed down by bad behavior habits.
But can you begin climbing out of that rut on your own?
Action News contacted several experts who say, emphatically, YES!
Irina Baranov, a professional life coach with the Council For Relationships, says the first step is to determine whether that habit is "bad." From there, you can determine if you need help, and what kinds of help is best.
Is it a conscious choice?
"Someone who consciously chooses one glass of wine at the end of the day to unwind, or a small piece of chocolate, or a 30 minute TV show to relax, is making a decision to do something that feels good," Baranov says.
Ask yourself, "what is this habit costing you?," If you can honestly answer "not much.. it just feels good/relaxing and doesn't impact my life in a negative way whatsoever," then we can be fairly certain that the habit is a 1, on the 1-3 scale.
Baranov says if a trusted friend or relative sees things the same way, then your indulgence is a conscious choice.
Is it an unconscious choice?
"Someone who needs (vs. wants) that same glass of wine, piece of chocolate or TV time is no longer in full control. This is a warning sign," says Baranov.
She says some people can recognize they've gone over the line, and can begin to chang, but others need a trusted friend or family member to tell them when they've gone too far.
When it goes too far, you may be facing an addiction.
The warning signs are:
a. Neglecting your responsibilities.
b.Lying/sneaking in order to do the behavior.
c. Feeling a "high" before/during/after.
d. Feeling a strong urge ("gotta have it!").
e. Risking potential harm to yourself and the people in your life.
f. Risking legal, financial, physical, emotional or relational trouble.
Dr. Bruce Zahn, a professor at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, uses 5 questions to help assess the situation.
1. Is this a habit or pattern you want to change?
"Look yourself in the mirror - and be honest," Dr. Zahn says.
2. Are you ready to take action?
"We often feel it is easier to repeat the behavior than to make the effort to change it," he says. "How motivated are you?"
3. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of changing your patterns.
4. Assess the consequences of change vs. not changing.
"Maybe it means moving to a new place, or it will cost money, or it may mean changing your social contacts," he says.
5. What is your risk tolerance?
"Change often means taking some chances. Are you willing to take a little risk, or a lot," says Dr. Zahn.
Both say you may need some professional help along the way, such as a therapist, psychiatrist, a trusted clergy member, or a life coach.
Dr. Zahn adds that instead of 'broadcasting' your plans to change, share them with a small trusted circle.
"At the end of the day, YOU must make the change," he says.
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