An Easy & Effective Guide To Breaking Bad Habits

hiker-reaching-the-summit | An Easy & Effective Guide To Breaking Bad Habits | featured

Bad habits can develop over a short period but can take forever to break. They are usually coping mechanisms or things we have done incorrectly over time and didn’t even know it! Let this guide help you break that bad habit!

Say Goodbye To Bad Habits With This Guide

Why Do You Want to Break the Habit?

This may seem like an obvious question to some who have done destructive bad habits, but finding out why you want to break the habit will help you in the psychological process of breaking that habit for good. Whether the habit is big or small, knowing why you want to break the habit will give you a reminder and motivation for the process.

1. Identify the Habit

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This is a simple, but crucial step. Some people don’t even know they take part in bad habits until someone tells them about it. Examples of these kinds of habits can include:

  • Interrupting during conversation
  • Road raging
  • Saying insensitive comments

These habits are not destructive, but you can certainly see why they are bad. All bad habits in some way are a detriment to you, that’s why they’re bad habits!

When you give the bad habit a name, you can address it head-on rather than assume it will go away on its own or continue to ignore it to the point where it continues to hurt you and the people around you. Once you identify the habit, you can move in the process and tackle the bad habit head-on.

2. Identify What Caused the Habit

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Habits develop over time and the cause of each habit is different. For example, some people use smoking as a way to relieve stress while others might have started smoking because they just wanted to try it and got addicted.

If you don’t know why you do it, see if you can talk to someone you know and see if they have any insight into the situation. Once you know the source of why you partake in a bad habit, you can move on to the next step in the process.

3. If Possible, Cut Out Triggers for a Bad Habit

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Whenever you do your bad habit, try and figure out what triggers the response of the bad habit. Think about all the times you have done the bad habit and then think about the immediate thing that happened before; this is usually the trigger. Triggers can range from certain people to stressful workdays.

Sometimes, you can’t always avoid a trigger, but even recognizing your triggers is a big step in this process. Knowing what triggers your bad habit gives you an awareness of yourself so you can be prepared for future efforts in stopping your habit.

4. Get an Accountability Buddy

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This is true of exercise and it’s true for most anything else. Getting someone to keep you accountable will give you a much higher chance of actually following through breaking your bad habit. Your accountability buddy can nudge you when you start doing your habit, check in with your progress, and be honest with you about what they observe that you may not have noticed.

When you pick an accountability buddy, be sure it’s someone you see daily and you know will be honest with you and persistent in helping you with breaking your bad habit. It may be uncomfortable to tell someone about your habit, but if you value breaking the habit, then it will help if you are open and honest and ask for help.

5. Get in the Right Mindset

african-american-man-planning-activities | how to stop bad habits addictions

If you start this process with the mindset that you are going to fail, then you will. It is important to be positive and optimistic. When you do your bad habit when you’ve been trying so hard to break it, realize that mistakes happen and move on: don’t beat yourself up over it.

Being in the right mindset also means being conscientious of what you are doing and why you are doing it. Being mentally alert and positive during this process will greatly increase your chances of successfully breaking your bad habits.

6. Reward Yourself for not Doing the Habit

man-listening-to-music | how to change bad habits

This step does not mean that you should reward yourself with something else bad. For example, don’t reward yourself constantly with chocolate whenever you checked your temper during work. This is just going to substitute one bad habit for another. Reward yourself in other ways! Other things that can be considered rewards are:

  • Taking a nice, long bath
  • Reading a book
  • Taking time to meditate
  • Doing a hobby
  • Listening to your favorite music

Rewards don’t always have to involve shopping or sweets, be creative, and look into how you can reward yourself for not taking part in your habit.

7. Have a Plan to Avoid Relapse

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Whenever you are triggered to do your bad habit, make a conscious effort to replace your bad habit with a good one. Instead of biting your nails when you are nervous, take the time to take deep breaths. If you feel like you are about to start yelling, saying something constructive such as “I need a moment to re-center myself.”

Having a plan to replace a bad habit with a good one may sound silly on paper, but it is effective and resourceful to replace a bad habit with a good one rather than just getting rid of a bad habit. Once you have a plan, stick to it!

8. Get Professional Help if Needed

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No matter how hard you try on your own, there may be times when you will need to consult a professional with your bad habit. They have the necessary knowledge and resources to help you overcome your habit so you don’t have to do it alone. There is no shame in asking for help when you know you need it.

It is much worse to be stubborn and never resolve your problem than to not be honest with yourself and seek help when you need it. Be sure to do your research on reputable counselors in the area and see if you can get a free consultation to determine if that particular counselor is right for you.

9. Persevere

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Last but not least, you need to persevere! Keep trying no matter what. Even if you fail, you try again the next time. If you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle, remember that you are not the first to deal with this problem. Additionally, know that there is no hill that just goes on forever.

If everyone could break bad habits with only a few tries, there would be a lot less bad habits in the world. Be patient, try your hardest, and you will be able to overcome your bad habits and be a much better you.

If You Relapse

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It is entirely possible that even after you’ve put all that hard work into breaking a habit that you will go back to your old ways. This usually happens whenever we feel our lives are out of our control or if we crave something enough to not care about the consequences. With some habits, this is not necessarily the end of the world, you would simply continue to try until you can get back on track.

However, some bad habits can be seriously detrimental, such as drug use. Bad habits that take this form are considered addictions. If you find that you continually struggling even with a counselor’s assistance, then you first need to remember that you can’t give up!

On a physical level, your body begins to feel that the drug is a need instead of want. Your body will have physical reactions when you deny what your body craves. When obtaining professional help, realize the process is never really over.

Every day may be a battle with yourself, but remember that the end of your trials is worth it. You are worth it and you will lead a much better life without the addiction.

Are you ready to break that bad habit? If you have other helpful ideas for breaking a bad habit please let me know in the comments section below.

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