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7 Tips To Break Your Bad Habits

No matter how we grow up, we all develop some sort of habit that either isn’t typical and/or healthy. There are a variety of reasons for why someone one would
develop a habit, with no two people having the same exact reason for picking it up. If the things you ritualistically do are causing a problem, how are you supposed to relieve yourself of these bad habits?

Here are a couple of ways that you can help break your cycle of bad habits:

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1. Train Yourself to Think Differently About Your Bad Habits

This is one of the hardest things for regular tobacco and alcohol users to grasp. Even if the person knows how the habit is, the comfort it provides outweighs any danger that may be caused as a result.

Whether you are puffing a cigarette or biting back nails that are too long, the psychological satisfaction we receive can be hard to fight. Change your thinking when it comes to these habits. For every reason you have that the habit is a good thing, give yourself another reason it’s so bad.

Hate your bad habits like any friend or family member would.

2. Create an If-Then Plan

Habits are typically developed over a three-week period, making them automatic once we’ve done them long enough. Giving yourself an ‘If-Then’ plan will change the way you reward yourself for the behavior, disrupting the reinforcement of negative behavior. Instead of rewarding your own bad habits, give yourself a reward for every good habit you replace a bad one with.

3. Do a Review When You Have a Bad Habit Relapse

No amount of planning will completely prevent a bad day from happening. It is understandable that a person would slip into old habits after a long and arduous day. Figure out what triggers your urge to have three beers or five cigarettes in a single sitting. How can you change things and avoid that the next time someone is triggering? Adjust your routine accordingly.

4. Coach Yourself Out of Bad Habits

Maybe you talk yourself through webcam like Likehacker alum Adam Dachis. Or you repeat self-affirmations in the mirror when you wake and right before bed. However strange your method is, coaching yourself out of a bad habit can be an effective tool in breaking that cycle.

If anyone is going to help you break out of a negative habit, why not have it be you?

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5. Change Your Environment

Think about the last time you lit a cigarette or cracked open an aluminum can of beer. Where were you? Did the environment simply perk up the urge to smoke or drink, despite no previous desire to take in any of it?

Heading out the back door near the menu sign may invite the urge to smoke. Add the “20-second rule” to your routine, extending the time takes to for your bad habit to start. You can also put your alcohol and favorite snacks further back in the cupboards, giving yourself time to consider if eating those chips is a good idea.

6. Remind Your Future Self About Avoiding Bad Habits

Preparations don’t always work when it comes to avoiding bad habits, especially with factors that wear down our willpower. Have you ever told yourself that you were only going to have a handful of drink, only to see a $200 tab the next morning?

Use your cellular device to give yourself reminders throughout the day or week. Set messages for yourself to remember which places and things to avoid, so you don’t succumb to the urge to smoke, drink or bite your nails, for example.

7. Spend a Month Thinking About Your Habit Before Taking Action

Just as everything else in life, you must give yourself adequate time to break old and negative habits. Give yourself two to four weeks to consider the details of your habit, jotting down the bad things that result from having it.

If these bad habits occur multiple times a day, you can get a small counter device and keep track of the number of times you do it per day. Having a handle on its frequency can help you prepare a way to deal with it.

Do you have any bad habits that you were able to break? What methods did you use and how well do they work? Have you been able to resist the urge to get back into the habit?

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