How to break bad habits -

How to break bad habits

How to break bad habits

Bad habits. We don’t like to talk about them, but we all have them. So, what's yours? Or, if you had to guess what the most common one is, what would you say? If you guessed never putting down our cell phones, you’re right.

Charlene Sarraf, a life coach with the Scottsdale Recovery Center, says cell phone addiction is the No. 1 habit people today just can't break.

She says she'll drive down the road and see the majority of drivers looking down at their phones, which, she says, demonstrates unmanageability and that means there’s a problem.

"When we see something that causes unmanageability, I think we need to take a look at that."

She says the constant access to the Internet creates other bad habits like impulse shopping.

"We've had this explosion of access to the Internet so now people who used to have to go to the mall to 'get that high,' so to speak, now they have it immediately."

Sarraf says the same chemical that gives us that sense of satisfaction -- dopamine -- is the same chemical that controls the urges of alcoholics and drug addicts. She explained that dopamine is a pleasure seeker, and we just keep increasing the amount of pleasure it seeks.

Another common addiction is Starbucks, feeding the need for both caffeine and status.

"I mean clearly I must be doing OK. I mean, I shop at Starbucks," Sarraf said facetiously.

Sarraf says our bad habits affect our pocketbooks but, more importantly, our relationships, as well.

So, how do you kick your cell phone habit?

The first step, Sarraf says, is to identify the problem. Start by asking yourself three questions.

  • Is it unmanageable?
  • Can I put my cell phone down while I drive?
  • Can I go 24 hours without it?

Then she says to get some help. You can do this by either controlling it on your own or asking friends and family to hold you accountable.Sarraf says you can slowly retrain your brain for a more natural dopamine boost, putting yourself back in line with the status quo.

"Why isn't the status quo OK today? Why isn't feeling good, sitting with your family at the dinner table with no electronics, why isn't that enough?"

It's the same process for most bad habits -- identify and acknowledge the problem and then get help.

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