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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jill Jay

When Habits no Longer Serve You

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

It is no doubt that we are now more than ever, in challenging times. Times of opportunity to take a new look at how we are showing-up in our lives. How can we bring empathy and compassion to ourselves, and to others in our lives to build new habits? I have some thoughts on this, I hope you find them helpful.

Old habits and narratives are replayed in different relationships and across different areas of our lives. Maybe the recurring patterns are destructive; like eating too much sugar, drinking too much, shopping too much or sinking into other self-indulgences to avoid a painful scenario. Its possible these patterns served us well at some point in our lives, such as self-sufficiency for lack of good parental or spousal support; but their purpose has expired.

Taking time to evaluate our habits is a good exercise. Not always easy to do, as habits by nature are something we do not think about – rather we do them automatically from muscle memory. We are approaching the 1 year mark of the Covid-19 pandemic. What new habits have you been building or old habits have you been intentional in breaking? Adapting new habits can be challenging.

Ask yourself a few of these questions as an exercise:

· Can you handle multiple competing demands?

The demand on your mind from the old habits and the demands of new habits may be in competition. For example; old habit of too much Netflix might be in competition of a new habit of an hour walk… what might you do to balance these competing demands?

· Can you deal with the reality that some ideas and methods to changing habits may not work?

· Can you alter your approach to become more innovative how can you see a new habit differently?

· How do you feel about building habits that will support your success?

Adaptability can be a major differentiator of successful individuals.

· What actions are you taking in response to the desire to change a habit?

Small steps are key here.

· What are the stories you hold about your current habits?

What mental stories do you have about the change?

· Have you gotten to the “why” behind old habits and developed a “why” for the new habit?

Working through a few of these questions can help you not only take action steps but also learn more about the underlying reasons behind your habits; and decide which ones would be most beneficial for your personal growth.


Dr. Jill Jay

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