This post is featured on behalf of Stacey White.
We all have a bad habit or two that we would like to escape from. It could be that you binge on junk food, spend too much time watching TV or you haven’t yet been able to kick that nicotine habit. Whatever it is, you are better off dealing with it when you are young, so you are not left carrying it with you for the rest of your life. However, this is often easier said than done.
The problem with bad habits is that the majority of them are damaging to your physical or mental health. In this article, we are going to be talking about a few methods that you can use to get out of your negative habits and replace them with some better ones.
1. Understand What Triggers Your Bad Habits
Bad habits are usually brought on by some sort of trigger, so before you can deal with the habit, you need to identify what this is. For example, you may find yourself drinking a bottle of wine after a particularly stressful day at work. Rather than using the alcohol as a coping mechanism, you need to tackle the stress directly. There are many ways of doing this and different things work for different people.
So, you could try doing some yoga, meditation or breathing techniques. Many people find that exercising is an effective method of taking their mind off things. The main idea is that you will destress yourself, so you will no longer need to rely on the bad habit.
2. Make Small Steps to Big Progress
Breaking a bad habit is extremely challenging if you try the cold turkey method. Instead, you are much more likely to achieve success if you set yourself realistic goals on a short-term basis and work to achieve these.
If the bad habit that you are trying to break is eating junk food, make yourself a meal plan with some treats factored in. Over time, you can start to reduce the amount of bad food in your plan. If you try to cut everything out all at once, you are much more likely to give into temptation.
3. Reduce the Number of Temptations
If you are in an environment where the temptations are all around you, it is much more likely that you will give into them. For example, if you are trying to cut back on your drinking, try to suggest to your friends that you meet in places where drinking alcohol is not an option.
When you go out to do your weekly shop, don’t buy any alcohol so you don’t have it in the house. Of course, if you find that you cannot control these things, you may need more support like a professional detox program. But any way that you can think of to reduce the amount of time you spend with access to continue your bad habit is a positive thing.
4. Write a List of Why You Want to Stop
Writing things down is usually an effective method of dealing with a problem. So, you need to think in detail about exactly why it is that you want to stop your bad habit. If you are the kind of person who binge-watches TV, you should make a list of all the things that you could accomplish with this time.
If you are a smoker, health is likely to be one of the main factors on the list. Essentially, the reasons that you want to break your bad habit have probably been at the back of your mind for a long time, but what you want to do is bring them back to the front by writing them down.
5. Review What Has Happened if You Relapse
When you are trying to break a bad habit, it is unlikely that you will be 100 percent perfect and kick it first time. On the days when you aren’t successful, you should take a step back and try to identify exactly why this was.
You need to have a level of self-awareness in order to properly deal with your habit. If you are a smoker, perhaps you went to an event where a lot of people were lighting up and you decided to join them. Ask yourself what you could do about this in the future. How could you better tackle the same situation if it was to arise again? Don’t punish yourself too much for these setbacks – just try to think of ways to prevent them from happening again.
6. Reframe Your Thinking
Even though they are bad habits, we often tend to associate them with positive feelings. Often, you think of them as a reward for a difficult situation that you have gone through. You may think ‘I got through that presentation at work, so I have earned a few drinks’.
While there is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself, you should think of less harmful ways of doing so. As well as this, instead of naturally associating your bad habit with positive things, you should train your mind to see it for what it really is. For example, fast food may be instantly gratifying, but it also can lead to weight gain and a whole host of health issues.
7. Coach Yourself Out of Bad Habits
We have already talked about writing out reasons for kicking your bad habit, but you could also write out a motivational diary reinforcing to yourself again and again why you would like to tackle the issue.
Alternatively, you could be a little bit more modern and make yourself a webcam diary in which you provide daily thoughts about why you are aiming to defeat your bad habit. Though this may feel a little strange at first, you will probably get into it over time. Who knows, you might have even found a new career path as a life coach!
Ultimately, breaking a bad habit is all about finding out what works for you. In this article, we have given a few different methods which you can try out yourself.