Do you ever wonder how people who are at the top of their field are able to maintain their high level of achievement? One of the keys to their success is that they are not afraid to reinvent themselves.

Reinvention can take many forms. It can be the refinement of habits or characteristics that should remain in your life but need fine-tuning. 

Reinvention can also take the form of letting go. Specifically, letting go of bad habits that hinder your success. John Maxwell, an American writer in the field of Leadership, says, “I can predict the long-term outcomes of your success if you show me your daily habits.”

Habits matter, and bad habits can cause lack of success and even failure.

This is particularly true when it comes to your health. Letting go of bad habits must be a top priority if you want to reinvent yourself. 

But it’s not as easy as it sounds.  It isn’t as simple as “just letting go of a bad habit.” 

When you let go of a bad habit, you need to replace it with a good habit. So today is the day.  No more excuses. No more tomorrow.

Below are three bad habits you need to finally let go of if you want to be healthy.

Stop Slouching

You have probably heard this admonition countless times throughout your life: Sit up straight and stop slouching! Well, as unpleasant at this feedback usually is, it’s right.  Poor posture is nothing but a bad habit that has developed over time.

Slouching (which is typically defined as a forward head posture and rounded shoulders) causes poor joint alignment, especially in the neck and back. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, poor posture of the spine can contribute to muscle tightness, loss of range of motion, and even pain. 

It’s very difficult to just “stop slouching.” You can reinvent yourself, however, by replacing the bad habit of slouching with the good habit of setting postural reminders for yourself.  For example, if you are a desk worker, you can place a small mirror at the top of your computer screen.  When you are in the correct posture, you should see the top of your head in the mirror. Seeing this continuous visual cue as you work will remind you to correct your posture.

You can also start the habit of checking your posture each time you send an email or start up your car. 

These habits ensure that you continually assess and correct your posture, thus breaking you of bad postural habits.

Stop Drinking Sugary Drinks

Soft drinks and energy drinks are loaded with high amounts of sugar. Such drinks can have between 15-60 grams (or more!) of sugar per serving. 

The American Heart Association reports that men should limit their intake to 36 grams of sugar per day while women should limit their intake to 25 grams of sugar per day. 

You can easily consume the entire amount of your day’s allotted sugar with one soft or energy drink. This bad habit can create big problems.

The American Diabetic Association states that sugary drinks have been linked to type 2 diabetes. This disease, the ADA states, causes more deaths per year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. That is a serious consequence to a bad habit! 

Reinvent yourself by kicking your sugary drink habit. Replace it with a water drinking habit.  Here are a couple of simple tricks to assist you in breaking this habit. 

Set several reminders on your phone or computer at various points in the day to alert you to drink a glass of water. 

A non-technological way to start this new habit is to keep 6-8 coins in your right pocket and to move a coin to your left pocket every time you drink a glass of water.  Whenever you reach into your pocket, you will notice the coins. This will cue you to drink another glass of water.

Stop Going to Bed Late

Th bad habit of going to bed late can be the result of many other bad habits.  For instance, it can result from the habit of lying in bed while scrolling through social media—which can make it more difficulty to fall asleep. Or it can result from the habit of falling asleep on a couch or in a recliner, which can make it more difficult to initiate sleep in bed. 

Many other habits can contribute to the bad habit of going to bed late.  This, in turn, can lead to sleep deprivation.

The National Institute of Health states that sleep deprivation can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.  All of a sudden, we can see how this little habit can have big consequences. 

Reinvent yourself by discontinuing your bad habit of going to bed late. Replace late nights with a routine that leads to a full night of sleep. 

Here are some helpful nightly routines that can help to break the bad habit of going to bed late:

  • Turn off all electronics 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep. This helps to deactivate your brain and makes sleep occur more naturally. 
  • Before bed, spend 10 minutes writing down all your thoughts and ideas on a note pad. This will let your brain relax and de-stimulate so natural sleep can occur.
  • Take 10 minutes to perform a stretching routine. This helps to release muscle tension and therefore aids in falling asleep.

Letting go of bad habits is a challenging and yet simple way to reinvent yourself.  It’s the old adage of “addition by subtraction.” Or better yet, its “addition by subtraction…with a new addition.” 

    1 Response to "Reinvent Yourself: Finally Let Go of Bad Habits"

    • Shelley Benton

      Hey Richard! That’s a great post. I can identify with it in several ways. First of all, I do work at a desk most of the day and about 2 hours after starting my back is killing me. And then, Yes, I see that I am slouching. I just now got finished reading your post but I think I’m going to try the mirror idea. I do have serious back pain and oh yes, Richard, my mother constantly said “Sit up straight!”

      Next was the sugary drinks. I am a diabetic and I am way overweight. I used to drink a 6-pack or more of Coca Cola a day – depending on what I was doing. Then I was diagnosed with diabetes and I started to learn how to drink unsweet tea and coffee. Today (in the present) I drink a lot of unsweet iced tea and no sugar in my coffee. I do however, probably drink one or two cokes a week if even that. I’ll have to say that your stats from the American Heart Association are very interesting – I had NO clue.

      Now I’d like to address your third “bad habit”. I’m not sure about it as I am a night person and can usually stay up til at least 2:00am or later. I am a nurse and the first few years of my nursing career I worked nights (11pm – 7am). I’d then go home and do a few things before I’d go to bed. I was usually in bed by 11:00am or earlier sometimes. I am now disabled and work from home so I still work in to the wee hours of the morning. I am able to drive so to get some extra income above my disability income, I drive UBER. I used to drive in the late evening and early morning but now I go to bed by 7:30pm and I get up at 2:00am. I work til about 6ish and then come home, take a nap, and “go to” work by 8:30 or 9:00. I have absolutely no problem falling asleep or waking up and I love that schedule.

      Anyway, Richard, your blog was very informative and I’ll look for more of them in the future. Thanks for the Info!!

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