5 Ways To Break Your Bad Habit
5 Ways To Break Your Bad Habit
Oh right! We’re talking about the most common problem about which we all need a solution! You accept it or not, but we all have one or two habits that we desperately want to break but have not yet succeeded.
As much as some people refuse to admit, but humans are not flawless. We know what idealized routines are for humans—like exercising, eating healthy, and having proper sleep but we don’t quite line up.
Sometimes a full-fledged bad habit becomes what begins as an occasional oversight, slip-up or coping mechanism. Bad habits disturb your life and stop you from achieving your goals. Both physically and mentally, they jeopardize your health. And they’re wasting your energy and time.
Why, then, are we still doing them? And, most importantly, can you do something about it? It can be difficult to break unwanted habits, especially if you’ve been involved with them for a long time.
How do you eliminate your bad habit and just commit to good ones? It may sound complicated, but the good news is that kicking your bad habits is entirely possible, and this article will help you with that.
What is a Habit?
Everyone has a habit, some are natural and some are not, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. Habits are the behavioural patterns that are frequently replicated and appear to happen subconsciously without even realizing it. Some of the other habits are such that you have incorporated them into your everyday life, and now you are used to it.
And not all habits are bad or need to be changed. In reality, many of the habits are good for you, such as setting out your clothes for work the night before or turning off the lights automatically when you leave a room. You do it once or twice with your conscious mind and now, as a habit, it is in your system. However, this may not be so good for other habits, such as biting your nails, drinking coffee too late in the night, or drinking too much alcohol.
How Do Habits Work?
Now we know that what’s in the habit is a subconscious decision of your mind. But how are you going to control your subconsciousness? And to break any habit, you need to learn how the habit works.
Habit is working with a very simple cycle. First of all, there is a trigger that started the particular act of habit. It could be anything like location, time of day, emotional state, thought, belief, other people, or a pattern of behavior that prompted you to do that. And then that action is transformed into routine habits And what keeps you going with this action to make it your habit is the reward. Rewards could be a feeling of joy or satisfaction in any sense. And these rewards create a loop that forces you to take action to receive the reward. And the number of times you’re going to take action to get rewards will end up as your routine, so it’s hard to break out of the loop. This is the simple basic cycle that builds the habit. Trigger-Routine-Rewards. And to break any of the habits you need to break this cycle.
How Do Habits Work?
The two main causes of bad habits, most of the time, are a way of coping with stress and boredom. It can be a simple reaction to stress and boredom, anything from biting your nails, wasting time on the internet to drinking coffee, overspending while shopping. Sometimes, deeper problems trigger the tension or boredom that is on the surface. These things can be difficult to think about, but you have to be honest with yourself if you’re serious about making changes.
Ask yourself: What are the beliefs or motives behind bad habits? Is there something deeper that causes you to hang on to something bad for you—a fear, an occurrence, or a limiting delusion? When you find the trigger point, you can teach yourself new and healthier ways to cope with stress and boredom instead of your unhealthy habits, which you can then replace. And you can come up with different ways to deal with your tension.
Why is it hard to break bad habits?
All the habits that you have right now, good or bad, are there for a reason in your life. In simple words, you have benefited from these habits or there is some purpose to them, even though they are bad for you in other ways. Often, as with smoking or drugs, the advantage is biochemical and it helps you to feel less stressed. It’s mostly due emotion, but if you keep doing it then that’s bad for your health. All your bad habits are an easy way to deal with emotion in many situations. Like biting your nails, playing with your hair, rapidly tapping your foot, unconsciously helping you to deal with your emotions.
Such “benefits” or reasons often refer to smaller bad habits. Opening your Instagram account as soon as you wake up, for example, might make you feel connected to the world. But at the same time scrolling through feed kills your productivity, splits your focus, and in some cases it also creates anxiety. But, it saves you from feeling like you’re “missing out”… and then you’re doing it again.
Don’t eliminate, just Replace it.
In your life, bad habits have some sort of profit, it’s really hard to simply eliminate them. This is why simplistic advice such as “just stop doing it” rarely works. Alternatively, you need to substitute a bad habit for a new habit that offers a similar advantage. Instead of pressuring yourself to break any habit, try to take the feeling of gratification from any other habit. If you smoke when you get stressed, for example, then it’s a bad idea to “just stop smoking” because that’s what your stress is going to make you do. Instead, instead of smoking a cigarette, you should come up with a better way to cope with stress and incorporate the new behavior. In other words, in your life, bad habits meet those needs. And for that reason, it is easier to substitute healthier habits that satisfy that same need for your bad habits. If you simply expect yourself to easily cut out any of the bad habits without replacing them with a new one, then you will have some unmet needs which will not be satisfied and it will be difficult to stick to a “just don’t do it” routine for a long run.
Steps to Break Your Bad Habits
I’d recommend starting with understanding if you’re looking for the first step to breaking bad habits. Getting caught up in how you feel about your bad habits is easy. You can make yourself feel bad or waste your time thinking of how you want things to be… but you are taken away from what is happening by these feelings. Similarly, it’s the awareness that can teach you how to make a change.
- You need to find the habit you want to change/break to change the habit at the very first point.
- Identify this habit’s trigger/cue.
- Pinpoint this habit’s routine.
- Recognize the reward from this habit that you are having.
Here’s a quick way to get started: just watch how many times your bad habit occurs every day. Keep a pen and paper your pocket. Write it down on your paper each time your bad habit happens. Count up all the tally marks at the end of the day to see what your balance is. Note down the above points that will help you recognize the pattern so that you can quickly find the alternative by. Just tracking these things will make you more aware of the habit and give you thousands of ideas to stop it.
Once the trigger/cue, routine and rewards of the habits you want to change have been established, then you can choose a new habit consciously. Know, however, it may take some time to change your routines, so be kind to own selves! Your purpose is not to criticize yourself or feel bad for doing anything unhealthy or unproductive at the point. The only purpose is to be mindful of when it happens and how frequently it happens.
It takes time and commitment to break bad habits, but it mostly takes perseverance. Many individuals who end up breaking bad habits try and fail several times before they make things work. Maybe you’re not good right away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have it at all.
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