How to Break Bad Habits


Bad habits impact all of us. Whether your bad habit is smoking, biting your nails or eating junk food, when bad actions have formed into bad habits they can be hard to break. The good news is that there are different strategies you can consider that can help you break those bad habits and prevent them from disrupting your life or productivity.

Identifying a Bad Habit

The first thing you need to do in order to break a bad habit is to identify what the habit is. You need to be clear on the fact that you are actually dealing with a bad habit and that it is truly the type of habit that you cannot break. You cannot break a habit until you are clear on what it is. Make sure to write down what your bad habit is and be specific as possible. If your bad habit is chewing your nails when you’re nervous, write it down as so, don’t just say “biting my nails.” Having a clear picture of what it is that you want to dispel from your life will only help make breaking the habits easier.

Creating a Plan to Break the Habit

When it comes to breaking a bad habit, the best thing that you can do is to form a plan. Write the plan out and again be as detailed as possible. Begin by finding the source of your bad habit, you need to understand what the trigger is so you can effectively step in and prevent yourself from following through with that bad habit whenever the trigger is around. Perhaps the trigger is alcohol or stress; whatever it is you need to know what will trigger you to act this way so you can be more proactive in stopping this behavior.

Whatever system you make, you need to follow through with it. Perhaps you put a dollar in a jar every time you perform the bad habit, or perhaps you write down every time you fall back on your bad habit on a calendar. Stick with your system and track your progress every day so that you can see how you are doing. Set yourself reminders whether they are phone reminders or Post-It notes around your home. Reminders are a great way to keep you focused when your mind wanders and when you may forget about how easy it is to fall back on those habits.

Following Through

The key difference between people who try to break bad habits and those who successfully do break bad habits is following through. It can be easy to get excited about an upcoming venture into breaking bad habits and to start out strong, only to whimper out near the ends of your efforts. So many people fall back on bad habits when they get stressed, nervous, busy or upset. The key is to stay strong. Be aware of the fact that following through is often the most difficult process of actually breaking a bad habit. You need to continue to work at it because many times it takes as long as 6 weeks to really start seeing improvement in breaking a bad habit. Remember that the process will be challenging, it will take time and you may experience some set backs, but in the end, if you focus and work hard, you can end up breaking those bad habits for good.

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