6 unhealthy habits to break right now

Whether you're a self-doubter or a procrastinator, breaking a bad habit is easier than you think. Check out our expert advice on how to get rid of these unhealthy habits.

By Cheryl Embrett

Breaking bad habits: How to stop doubting yourself
©iStockphoto.com/Courtney Keating
Do you always say yes when you really mean no? Do you think "I can't" instead of "I can"? Or do you tend to put off until tomorrow what you should do today? Whether we're procrastinators, pessimists, perfectionists or pleasers, most of us have at least one self-defeating behaviour we'd like to change.

"We tend to believe these behaviours are part of our personalities because they've been so reinforced over time," says Kimberly Moffit, a psychotherapist in Toronto. Eventually, they become habits – familiar and comfortable, though sometimes unhealthy, ways of operating. But behaviours, like habits, can be turned around.

1. You often doubt yourself
You're afraid to ask for a raise, volunteer to chair a school committee or even try out a new recipe because you don't believe you're up for the challenge. It's often a lot easier to sit still than to take action that comes with risks. But the problem with always saying "I can't" is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you'll fail, there's a good chance you will. "The people who are successful aren't necessarily the smartest or the most talented -- they just believe they can do it," says Moffit. "That self-confidence opens doors."

Break the habit: Change your focus. Instead of dwelling on what you consider to be your negative qualities, remind yourself of all of your good ones. "OK, so I'm not a gourmet cook, but my daughter loves my homemade spaghetti sauce and peanut butter cookies."

Be your own BFF. You wouldn't insult your best friend by calling her a loser or a klutz every time she makes a mistake, so why treat yourself that way? Replace negative self-talk ("I can't believe I screwed up again!") with more positive statements ("I tried my best and learned something valuable from the experience"). It may sound hokey -- but it works.

Page 1 of 4 -- Are you always focused on what's going wrong with your life? Find out how you can turn those negative thoughts around on page 2


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