Bad habits are formed for a reason and can be very difficult to break. From nail-biting to smoking and everything in between, a habit is usually formed from boredom or stress. Plenty of times there are underlying causes of the stress or boredom, and it’s important to know the root of that to overcome the bad habit. The good news is that by replacing a bad habit with a new, often healthier, habit it is possible to alter your behavior.
Ways to Break A Bad Habit
Substitution: Finding a different behavior for the one that you want to change is important. Know ahead of time what you plan to do when you want to bite your nails or smoke or consume sugar. By making a plan beforehand, you will have a better chance of succeeding. If you want to lose weight but the first thing you do after dinner is head to the couch, tell yourself that you can sit down after doing ten pushups. Deciding to perform breathing exercises instead of biting your nails will help when the urge strikes. Find a substitute for the bad behavior with one that is better.
Buddy system: We have all heard this before, but it is very helpful. Choose a friend or coworker or family member to help you in eliminating your bad habit. If you are bothered by your daily trip to the coffee shop on your lunch break, ask a friend to take a walk with your instead. You are more likely to stick to something if you are held accountable by another person.
Get rid of the triggers: This can be easier said than done, but your surroundings are making the bad habit easier to do. If sugar is a problem, don’t have cookies in the house. Place sticks of gum in your car to pop in your mouth instead of a cigarette if that’s the time you tend to smoke. Have a full water bottle on your desk if you would like to cut down on the amount of caffeine you drink. Changing the environment can help to avoid the things that cause the bad habit.
See yourself in the (near) future: Do you want to be thinner? Would you like to see your bank balance larger? Is healthy eating your goal? Picture yourself as you want to be. Visualize your success, and always have it at the front of your mind. When you think about straying from your goal, look to your future self and be strong in your quest to break that habit.
Breaking a habit is never an easy task. Remember that you will slip up, but don’t let it set you off track. Have the outcome that you want in your mind and then get right back onto your goal. Everyone makes mistakes, and being aware of that when you begin will make it easier when it happens. The person that succeeds is the one who doesn’t let a mistake derail them. They acknowledge it, move past it, and continue on their path to achieve their objective.