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This is part 1 of a 5-part series on HABITS. It’s a great starting point for bettering yourself as a parent: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

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Your habits reflect on the whole family

For fathers who work hard all day and try their best to be the best at home, bad habits often feel like a never-ending cycle you can’t break free from. Kind of that hamster on the wheel feeling. Whether it’s procrastination, cursing too much, overeating, or overspending, these behaviors could potentially interfere with your ability to live your life in a balanced and happy way.

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Some bad habits could ruin marriages or even lead to premature deaths. You’re family-oriented, so it’s time to break some of your nasty habits. Breaking up with your past and moving into a new ‘you’ is also about your family.

Your kids have all eyes on you! Monkey See Monkey Do! Don’t ask why your kids are cursing or shouting and picking their noses while they watch TV because chances are, dad and mom are doing something similar.

It depends on what we’re talking about here… If you procrastinate on several projects or businesses you’d like to start, start now! Are you cursing every chance you get, stop now!

If you’re overeating because you’re stressed, stop now!

Do you raise your voice at the kids way too often, stop now!

If you’re overspending on shit you don’t need to impress people you don’t care about…you know the drill! Yes, I’m talking about that new pick-up truck and camper trailer.

BTW, this post is not about ‘resolutions for the New Year‘, it’s the NOW…Now

You know when you have a bad habit because it gnaws at you daily and hourly. Get rid of it! Whatever it might be. There are hundreds of bad habits people deal with, but here I’ll speak of a simple few that many of you can relate to. Hopefully not for long…

Cycles of Bad Habits

One common cycle of bad habits is the tendency to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms in times of stress or boredom. During the Covid lockdown, do you remember reading my article about Korean beers and binge drink for a week because you were bored at home alone, or that extra smoke you had just after that important job interview? How about that nose-picking habit you have while you’re driving? You know who you are! Cycles~~

For example, someone who struggles with anxiety may turn to overeating or substance abuse to cope with their feelings. Unfortunately, these behaviors only provide temporary relief and ultimately worsen the problem in the long run.

Another cycle of bad habits is the tendency to prioritize short-term pleasure over long-term well-being. We’ve all done this but some make it a life-long habit.

For example, someone who frequently skips workouts or consumes unhealthy foods may do so because it provides immediate satisfaction or another payoff. However, doing this is very likely to have negative consequences on their physical and mental health in the long run. I’m not talking about a few snacks here and there, frequently eating unhealthy stuff will add up in the long run.

Breaking the Cycle of Bad Habits

Breaking the cycle of bad habits requires a concerted effort to identify and address the underlying causes of these behaviors. Why are you drinking so much? Did your parents do the same thing? Why are you eating bacon several times a week when you know you have high cholesterol?

It may involve seeking support from a therapist or counselor to help you figure out healthy coping mechanisms based on your particular problems and setting clear goals and boundaries for yourself. It revolves around which habit you want to break. You know them more than anyone else.

To break the cycle of bad habits, you need to replace them with positive alternatives. Once you identify the bad habit, you’ll need to determine which alternative activities or behaviors will fulfill your true needs and desires, so you stop relying on unhealthy coping mechanisms or short-term pleasure.

For example:

Overeating – Instead of overeating when feeling stressed, you can try going for a fast walk or engaging in relaxing activities like meditation or yoga in place of the former bad habit. Easier said than done, I know, but you got to start somewhere. If walking isn’t your thing do something that’ll get you thinking of something else.

**Tip-A cool thing that I do, when I get hungry when bored, or stressed is to brush my teeth. Weird, but it works! The toothpaste seems to erase cravings. Some health trainers recommend brushing your teeth after dinner to keep hunger pangs away. Try it…

The simplest way to avoid all this is not to purchase junk that you KNOW you’ll be munching on at 11 pm while watching Netflix because you had a bad dad at work. We avoid buying ice cream at our home exactly because of this. Hey…We’re only human.

Procrastination – Instead of procrastinating on tasks, try setting clear goals and deadlines while breaking larger tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks to prevent overwhelm in the first place. Write down your goals for the month, week and day.

My wife is great at this. Buy some calendar or agenda online and keep writing into it every Sunday to fill your week out. When you go back to your ‘to do’ list, and things were not done, you’ll feel like you missed out on something and get your ass in gear to do the ‘do.’ JFDI…I’ll explain that one later~~

man in plaid shirt using smartphone, bad habit
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Screen time– Instead of looking at nothing on your phone or following the latest ‘reels’ or Tiktok challenge, try picking up a book. Yes, I know it sounds boring and brain-draining, but it’s quite the opposite. Your kids might pick up that new habit from you and maybe eventually start reading as a family.

Reading is very underrated and it’s understandable. It’s hard to compete with the fast-paced social media reels and ‘grams’ that people add to their profiles. But it all starts with you. You can check my adventure novel, it’s a great page-turner and the kids will like it too. Start building a library at home! Or go to the local library!

photo of man smoking cigarettes. Habits, Bad Habits.
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Smoking – Instead of smoking cigarettes, try using nicotine gum or patches to wean yourself off nicotine gradually. You can also try activities that help you relax, like exercise or meditation, to help manage cravings.

**Tip-Another idea that an old colleague had was to snack on sunflower seeds, with the shells. It takes time to crack the shells and eat the nut, so it takes your mind off puffing a cig.

two persons holding drinking glasses filled with beer. Habit, bad habit
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Drinking too much alcohol – Instead of relying on alcohol to cope with stress or to have fun, try going for a walk, taking a hot bath, or engaging in a hobby. Boring!!! Yes, you might be right, but you’re not 25 anymore, and your little one sees what’s going on.

You can also try finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, therapy, or relaxation techniques. Find a walking partner and go for a walk after dinner. This will prevent you from 1-overeating, 2-indulging in screentime, and 3-having a drink. Simple.

**Don’t STOP drinking! We’re dads, we need our suds once in a while, in moderation.

person s hands, Nail bitting, Habits
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Biting your nails – Instead of biting your nails, keep your nails trimmed and filed. In addition, try applying bitter-tasting nail polish to your nails to discourage biting. You can also try using a stress ball or another activity that requires using your hands to interrupt the urge to bite your nails.

**Tip-Ask your kid to be your ‘right-hand man’ or ‘woman’… Ask them to check up on your nails twice weekly to make sure you’re not snacking on them, if you are, you can put a buck or two in a jar for their university tuition.

food, korean cuisine, rice with fried egg-2158540.jpg. Don't skip a meal. Habits
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Skipping meals – Instead of skipping meals, plan out your meals and snacks in advance by including tasty and healthy options that will keep you satisfied. You can also try setting reminders to eat and eat at regular intervals throughout the day to help regulate your appetite and prevent overeating.

I think as fathers we focus so much on getting our kids to eat right and packing their lunches and snacks, but we forget that we also need to eat right. We set examples for our kids, we gotta be careful what we project to them.

Conclusion

Replacing bad habits with positive alternatives requires effort and self-reflection, but the benefits are significant. Not only will these positive habits improve your physical and mental health, but they will also increase your sense of accomplishment and overall satisfaction with life. On top of this, it’ll reflect on your kids, and that by itself is worth it.

According to research, it takes anywhere between 18 to 254 days to replace a bad habit with a good one… Patience and perseverance!

Ultimately, breaking the cycle of bad habits is about taking control of your life and accepting that only you choose your actions. Remember to prioritize your well-being as you come up with replacement habits to break the cycle. When you replace unhealthy behaviors with positive alternatives everyone around you will notice.

It all starts with you. I love using the acronym, JFDI… I learned this a few years ago from a shitty boss I worked for. It means JUST FUCKING DO IT!. Simple. If you know it’s wrong or that you should not be doing it, well, JUST FUCKING STOP DOING IT! It’s late but you know you should be writing a post for your awesome dad blog, JFDI. If you love your kids and wife so much and you want to quit smoking for them, JFDI. Simple! Best of health to you all…

**This is part 1 of a 5-part series on HABITS. It’s a great starting point for bettering yourself as a parent: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

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