How to Break Bad Habits
I started writing this post about how to break bad habits quite a while ago, perhaps almost a year. I was going through a slump, eating a lot of junk food and watching a lot of TV, to the point of losing productivity towards the things I really want in life.
The thing is, indulging in a little junk food and tv brings me immense joy in life, so I would never want to cut it out completely. But I have a bad habit of over-indulging, and then I’ll enjoy these and other time-suckers to the point of excess. It’s the same way bad habits start for many of us, we get too comfortable in the things we enjoy instead of pushing ourselves to be better and strive for more in life.
So in the spirit of me trying to break some of my bad habits, I wrote out this post to share some tips for breaking bad habits in general.
I’m sure we all have a habit that we know doesn’t serve us well. We want to do right by ourselves but it can be really difficult to change something we are so comfortable with and used to.
I know you’ve got at least one thing in your head right now, you’re thinking, “Yeah, I could probably be better about X.”
So read these tips, internalize them, and then send me an email or comment below! I would love to be your accountability buddy in this! Let’s chat about our goals and the bad habits we want to change. With a strong support system you’re bound to succeed!
How to Break Bad Habits
1. Identify your triggers. When you fully understand the cues which cause you to engage in your bad habit, you can come up with a plan to engage in a beneficial activity when that cue occurs. This won’t be easy at first but the more you practice awareness of your triggers and reactions the more you will be able to change your behaviors to something more beneficial.
2. Take baby steps. This has always been really crucial for me. If you’ve never worked out before, there’s no way you’re going to be able to just start working out every day like it’s so easy! And most people can’t quit smoking by just stopping cold turkey. Identify goal posts on the way to your end goal of completely breaking your bad habit, and celebrate meeting them in a healthy way.
3. Deeply understand your WHY power. Reflect long and hard about why you NEED to break this habit. How will your life be better? In what ways will it improve your life? Connect with your emotions: how will it FEEL to take control over a negative habit and turn it into a positive one? This is key in keeping your motivation strong.
4. Reward and penalize yourself. Making a bad habit a little more painful can help you ditch it for good. Money is a great motivator, so you can use the “swear jar” method or pay your friends $1 each time they catch you doing that thing you want to stop doing. It works the other way too: Reward yourself for beating your habit every day. (If you’re looking for a healthy habit to replace your bad one with, check out this post.)
5. Live for your future self. This is a concept that just really clicked for me recently. Envision a perfect future for yourself and then ask yourself, who are you in that vision? What kind of person are you and what kind of habits does that kind of person need to have? You need to start building those habits now, you have to start living that way now to see the success of the person you want to be in the future. As you go about your day, remind yourself of your dream, and the dream version of yourself. Are your daily actions today matching the daily actions of your dream self? If not, then you’ll never reach your goals. This can be an incredibly motivating mind trick to help you stay on track.
I hope this helps you on your journey. We all have bad habits that are difficult to break. Feel free to share some of yours in the comments below. You’ll find that you’re not the only one dealing with these struggles, and maybe someone else going through something similar can help you find a new perspective which will help you grow and change.