Are you trying to kick a bad habit?
A bad habit can be anything from biting your fingernails to picking up your phone too often, to living in a less-than-healthy way.
We all want to be better people and become the best versions of ourselves. But, the journey there is often arduous and long. Therefore, learning the best methods to breaking a bad habit can be extremely helpful in this transitional time.
Change can feel uncomfortable, and that’s a completely normal reaction. However, once you’ve adjusted to the change, it becomes almost like second nature to you.
Soon enough, you’ll barely even think of that pesky bad habit, and you’ll be enjoying your much better habits instead.
Ready to learn eight way of breaking a bad habit? Check out this list below.
1. Pick a Substitute
This is the most important part of breaking a bad habit. It can be tempting to quit a bad habit cold-turkey, but this can actually backfire very quickly.
Without a substitute, we often turn back to what we know. Suddenly, you are right back where you started.
After you determine what habit you’d like to break, decide which habit you’d like to replace it with. For example, if you decide to opt out of that third cup of coffee in the morning, it might be a good idea to replace it with hot tea.
This way, you still get to enjoy a warm mug while you work, without turning to harmful habits.
2. Eliminate Negative Self-Talk
How you talk to yourself matters just as much as how you talk to others. The thoughts and words that circulate in your head often turn into actions, or worse, more thoughts.
Negative thoughts can sometimes get you stuck in a loop, leading to negative emotions. These are more likely to cause you to return to what you know.
So, make an effort to be positive and kind to yourself, as you would your significant other. Support yourself in this transition, without hating yourself for doing it.
3. Change Your Environment
The environment we are in can play a huge role in which habits we pick up. Just examine the terms social-drinker or social-smoker for examples.
Rather than letting your normal environments hinder your progress, allow them to help it.
If your cubicle is unknowingly making you procrastinate, consider rearranging the area, adding plants, organizing, or ask your supervisor if you could opt for a co-work space on some days.
4. Get Someone Else Involved
Accountability is a big part of forming new habits. Having a buddy to support you as well as ask you about your progress will help keep you on track.
Simply let someone know what you’re doing, and try to keep them updated until you feel confident in your new habit.
5. Understand and Eliminate Your Triggers
Almost all bad habits have some sort of triggers. Breaking a bad habit entails finding out exactly what your triggers are so that you are able to remove them.
Start by asking yourself why you do a certain habit, and what emotions you feel when you turn to it.
For example, if you always find yourself reaching for a late-night snack, ask yourself why. Is it because of true hunger or boredom?
Or, perhaps even more commonly, is it stress?
Once you discover these hidden emotions behind the bad habits, you can work on replacing them with better ones.
Instead of reaching for an unhealthy late-night snack to destress, maybe you could try meditating for five minutes instead. Or, you could pick up a book to focus on.
Regardless, there is usually a trigger of some sort in all habits, whether it be a feeling, person, or situation.
6. Do a Review If You Relapse
It can be easy to completely shut down if you relapse on any bad habit. But, this is usually not the reaction that will help you get back to breaking a bad habit.
Rather than throw a pity party, stop and ask yourself why it didn’t work. Review the process you went through, and when you felt the urge to do it.
Then, with renewed understanding, try again. Try a different substitution, environment, thought process, or something else to build a successful foundation.
7. Work Slowly
It can be tempting to quit a habit all at once and never look back. While it seems logical, this can be much harder in real life.
Bad habits tend to die hard, which means pushing yourself to quit altogether may just lead you to relapse over and over. While this is going to depend on the nature of the bad habit, consider slowly removing a habit from your life rather than all at once.
This way, it will be a more seamless elimination, and by the time you are no longer victim to it, you might not even notice.
8. Surround Yourself with Good People
The friends and people you surround yourself with are often a reflection of who you are.
It will be much harder to break a habit if the people around you are constantly doing it.
While you may not need to remove them from your life, it may be a good idea to take a little break from anyone that could trigger you.
As well, surround yourself with people who make you want to succeed and don’t make you question why you are doing it.
Breaking a Bad Habit – Plan for a Little Bit of Failure
The process of breaking a bad habit is often difficult, and it can take time. But, it is important to understand that it is okay to slowly move away from old habits and move towards new ones.
It is also okay to fail, a little bit. Failure can help you learn your triggers, and what doesn’t work for you. Eventually, you will fail enough that you will know how to succeed.
Be sure to check out our post on 15 self-improvement tips that will change your life, and start becoming a better you today.