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Wanna feel in control of your life? Then let’s get real. Your habits are impacting you way more than you think.

So here’s the deal. Most of us have grown up and developed habits over time that are just a regular part of our lives, without ever considering what they are.

We haven’t thought about whether our actions are moving us away from or toward the lifestyle that we really want. We haven’t looked at how they are triggered, or the results of the actions.

If the habits you are building are bad habits, then this is a serious problem if you ever want to take control of your life. That is why it is important to be intentional about habit building in order to use habits to your advantage.

Recognizing the Power of Habit

I had never thought too much about the power of habit until my habits changed suddenly. See, about three years ago, I lost my Dad in a car accident.

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Excuse the low resolution. This is my Dad, supporting me fully as we sat in line for American Idol when I was 16.

All of my healthy habits vanished almost overnight, and many were replaced with bad habits that I had never struggled with before. Between pregnancy hormones and grief, my emotional struggle was powerful enough to dismiss years of intentionality.

It became clear pretty quickly that these healthy habits that I had lost were the key to how easily I had kept up before. Suddenly I was drowning.

It also became clear how insanely difficult building habits is. It can feel so hard to quit bad habits and replace them with healthy habits!

When I finally got my head on straight, I knew that one of the first steps I needed to take was to get my habits under control. I knew it would help me spend less time on the pieces of my life that were insignificant, and more on the good stuff. I got to work.


Types of Habits

I think it’s important to start with perspective. What is a habit, and what types of habits are there?

In my head, it’s pretty simple. Habits are actions that you take on a regular basis that are impactful. If you change them, it will be hard in one way or another.

Healthy habits take you towards your dream life, and bad habits sabotage it. If you ask me, anything in the middle can be ignored until it becomes a more pressing matter.

The healthy habits that I really noticed missing were things that made my everyday life easier. Things like putting something away right after I used it, rinsing my plate after eating, remembering to defrost meat for dinner, and checking prices at the grocery store suddenly felt really hard.


Instead of intentionally leading my life, I found myself playing catch-up. I felt behind on everything from my home life to money, to personal care.

I was scrambling because my body was no longer running through these simple actions on auto-pilot, so all of my time and attention was going toward things that hadn’t even been a focus before.

Being so worn out and busy trying to catch up made me sabotage myself. I started to replace what once were healthy habits with bad habits.

Habits like drinking way too much Dr. Pepper, missing bedtime because I needed to finish my tasks, and lazing through the day because I felt so wiped.

Granted, it could be worse, but these things really started to bother my daily life after a while. I felt worse and struggled more than I ever had before, and it was impacting my family.


Building Habits | Breaking Habits

After a couple of years of trial and error, I strongly believe that the best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one.

By doing this, you are effectively teaching yourself this, not that. Because in some way, the habits that you have are there for a reason, and you will need to rejustify your actions in order to get anywhere with your subconscious.

For example, I drank five cans of Dr. Pepper a day because I wasn’t getting enough sleep. It gave me energy, or at least I believed that it made a difference, which justified the action in my brain.

Proof that I had an addiction! Lovingly taking photos of myself enjoying a Dr. Pepper while hanging with my kiddos at the park.

When my goal was to quit drinking Dr. Pepper, I failed miserably! But, about three months later, I decided that I needed to drink more water.

I set a rule that I wasn’t allowed a soda until I had finished my 32-ounce bottle of water because that would give me the incentive to finish the entire bottle asap. Drinking my bottle of water took me all morning, which meant that I also decreased my soda intake.

I realized that I could trade soda for water and trick my brain into focusing on the benefits of drinking more water instead of the struggle of not drinking soda. Guess what? It worked!

After about a week, I also decided that I wasn’t allowed to drink soda after 9 o’clock at night because I noticed it was affecting my quality of sleep. Now, I allow myself a single Dr. Pepper at about 1 o’clock and that’s it.

If I feel thirsty, I grab water. The crazy thing is that I enjoy my single Dr. Pepper so much more because it’s a novelty again.

The point is that habits cannot be eliminated through plain ol‘ wishing or, most of the time, even strong will. You have to retrain your brain and use strategies to set yourself up for success.

Building and breaking habits takes time and intentionality, but if the benefits are important enough to you, it is totally worth the effort.

How To Create Healthy Habits

The good news is that there are a ton of ways to plan for success when you are trying to take control of your life by building habits.

There are methods and tactics that you can use that will increase your chances of following through on your commitment.

I first started learning about strategies to build habits consciously when I read the book Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. It goes over 21 different strategies that you can use to make and break habits. I highly recommend it if you are looking to take control of your life by building habits!

Find Better Than Before on Amazon here.

If you love gaining knowledge like this, consider trying Kindle Unlimited to access millions of titles and thousands of audiobooks. Better Than Before is included! Check it out here.

You can also get the audiobook free with a 30-day free trial through Audible. I love to listen to audiobooks while I clean! Sign up here.

While reading, I really enjoyed going through the strategies and recognizing which ones I had been using without realizing it! I can tell you that building habits with this knowledge is a lot easier than the trial and error method that I had been using!

Regardless of how you go about it, building healthy habits and breaking bad ones can really help ease the feeling of being overwhelmed and allow you to finally take control of your life! Don’t overlook the power of these small actions. They add up and highly impact your days!

If you found this article helpful, it would mean so much to me if you shared it! Pin it to your favorite Self-Help board on Pinterest!

Are you desperate to learn how to stop feeling so overwhelmed, but don't know where to start? Reaching happiness can be more simple than you think. Put your life on autopilot with habit building. Take control of your life now!

2 Comments on How To Use Habits To Your Advantage

  1. It is true that bad habits can often leave you feeling overwhelmed and playing catch-up, and that the only way to break bad habits is to replace them with good ones. Thank you for the resources you’ve provided, I’ll be sure to check them out

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