How to break bad habits

Darryl Bachmeier
Mar 19, 2020

Let’s be honest. We do not like to admit it, but we are not perfect. The thing about bad stuff is that it is easy to make a habit out of them. After all, it does not demand any effort. All you need to do is to do whatever you want. It sounds like a fun way to live your life, but it is not healthy. Why would you want to stick to a bad pattern of behavior?

The first thing that you need to do is to figure out what exactly you want to be different. For you to start changing, you have to know what it is that you need to change. Think of specific things that you do. Do you dump your shoes wherever you can instead of putting them in the closet? Do you eat in front of the TV instead of at the table? Still, it does not have to be anything like that. Maybe you do not send texts to your partner or send them only when you have something negative to say. Change that by deciding that you are going to send complimentary texts to your partner every day. These are just some of the examples and let them inspire you to make a decision of your own.

Let us look at all the things that will help you break bad habits.

Identify your bad habits and their triggers

As I mentioned earlier, the first step is identifying bad habits. It might be obvious as smoking, but make sure you dig deeper and figure out everything that you need to change. The thing about bad habits is that we are often not aware when we are doing something. Ask any smoker you know, and they will tell you that they are often unaware of the fact that they are lighting a cigarette after a cigarette. Still, there are some triggers. For example, smokers tend to smoke when they are drinking coffee or alcohol as well as when they are trying to concentrate. Find out what are the triggers of your bad habits, and it will help you become more aware of when you are doing something you should not. Being aware of everything will help you control yourself when you notice a trigger because you will know what it is.

Be motivated

Whatever you want to quit, you have to have a good reason for it. Just knowing that smoking is bad for you is not enough to stop you, and that is why there are so many smokers. Still, maybe if you think of a better reason to stop, you would be motivated enough. You can think about how the food is going to taste better and how you are going to save a lot of money. If you are a woman, you can always find motivation for quitting smoking because of potential pregnancy. Find anything that works for you. Whatever motivates you enough is a good reason, and it could be anything you want. You can help yourself stick to the decision to break bad habits by fining yourself for every offense you make. Make a deal with your friend that you will give them a dollar every time they see you doing what you should not. Alternatively, you can just put the money in a jar whenever you catch yourself relapsing.

Change your environment

We already talked about triggers, but did you know that your surroundings might actually be one of your triggers? For example, if you go to the parking lot to smoke when you are at work, that parking lot becomes your cue to smoke. Change your environment. In addition, you can make it harder for yourself to get the thing that represents a bad habit. For example, you can move all your junk food to the back and place some healthy snacks in front of it. This way, you are counting on your laziness to settle for what is easier to reach.

Be patient

Changing bad habits is not something that happens overnight. It takes a lot of time and dedication to get there. So, try not to be frustrated or upset with yourself because of the fact that this takes time. You are actually rewiring your brain, and something like that cannot happen fast. So, do not beat yourself up because the change did not happen instantly. In addition, it is important to remember that you will relapse from time to time, and that is perfectly normal.

Be prepared for a relapse

The most important thing that you need to know about breaking bad habits is that setbacks are perfectly normal. Surely, you are going to have some bad days when you will give into the temptations. You cannot help it; you are only a human being. Still, what you can do is be prepared for these relapses. After the first relapse, do a review. Getting back on track should be your only goal, and you can plan to do that. Forgive yourself for the relapse you had, but try to learn from it so you would know how to avoid it in the future.

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