What It Takes to Make or Break a Habit

February 16, 2017

The Dime crew is big on podcasts because, well, who isn’t? From “Modern Love” to “2 Dope Queens,” we laugh and cry on our way to the gym, office, or happy hour with the girls.

We’re particularly inspired by Natalie Lue’s podcast, “The Baggage Reclaim Sessions.” Lue is a London-based writer and blogger who focuses on emotional literacy—in other words, she wants to help you clear out/reduce and tidy up your emotional baggage so that you can say farewell to emotional unavailability, and make space for the life you desire and deserve.

One topic that Lue frequently focuses on is that of positive habit making. She explains that breaking habits to form healthier ones involves shaking things up—which, lucky for you, we’ll break down and explain just what that looks like.

In order to move forward and truly live your best life (or LYBL, as we say), you should:

  1. Identify your cues and triggers from the past where you’ve typically fallen short—for example, if you know that you have a weakness for spending crazy amounts of dough every time you walk into Free People or find yourself on the ASOS app, try to become more self-aware of these moments. Then, predict what you might spend in those instances, create boundaries around those predictions, and BUDGET accordingly. In practice, you might remind yourself, I only get to spend $100 anytime I shop at Free People—no exceptions!”
  2. Create new approaches to the same mundane task. This will allow you to go down a different path as you increase your self-awareness. Case in point: if you try to work out every day after work but find yourself to be too busy, only allow yourself to meet friends or work late after you’ve taken a gym break. The key here is being willing to learn from the insights gained from your prior faults or failures, or in this case, the lack of living a healthy life while hustling (the struggle is real). One note about failures: the act of failing can be the most wonderful thing, if appreciated. Your biggest failures will allow you to better understand yourself and your shortcomings—which in turn helps you grow and become stronger.
  3. Allow yourself to feel proud of or empowered by the way you handled a situation, and changed the story as it was unfolding. It’s A-ok to congratulate yourself for keeping to a budget or making it to the gym. Small wins lead to big wins.
  4. Recognize that your negative or unhealthy thinking and behaviors won’t benefit you. If you want to change how you feel in the types of situations you typically find yourself, YOU have to change (and not just because MJ said so years ago). Take the time to pay attention to when you find yourself slipping into old habits. For example, does it happen when you find yourself in a similar situation (just with different packaging)? Is the negative pattern your default response, despite what is actually taking place around you?
  5. Look at similar past and present situations, and determine what’s different about each. You can be smarter, stronger, and more self-aware…if you want to be.

While there’s benefit to understanding our habits, there’s an even greater benefit to understanding where we can make adjustments. In some instances, this might lead to our having to seek out different people to surround ourselves with in order to achieve better, more positive results. If you’re tired of a negative cycle—be it a relationship, or money-saving/spending habit—you have an opportunity to change it. We believe in you.

What habits are you working on breaking (or making)? Fill us in.