Bad habits. Everyone has them. If you are here, it's probably because you have come across the motivation and inspiration that you want to change something in your life. But, what exactly makes a habit a bad one?
Let's break it down into 3 different types of habits: Good habits, Bad habits and Unconscious habits.
A good habit is anything you do regularly that is supportive and beneficial to your overall quality of life. Example: exercising regularly is a good habit!
Unconscious habits are things you do without realizing. Example: brushing your teeth in the morning. You probably just do this without even really thinking about it, right?
A bad habit is anything you do that is destructive to your overall well-being. Example: Smoking. You know what you're doing isn't particularly good for you, but you're stressed, you need it.
Habits are formed though repetition. After you develop the repetition of something, it is engraved into your brain as something you are reliant upon, something that comes as a second nature to you, and a bad habit is easily turned into a bad, unconscious habit. See how the two combined?
So now, lets get into the steps of breaking your bad habit.
IDENTIFY WHAT YOU NEED TO CHANGE
Identify what your bad habit is. Pin point exactly what habit of yours is creating the problem. If you're like most people, and have more than one bad habit... start with one! Starting with just one is going to start you off on the right foot. If you go all in and try to break multiple at once, you're going to feel overwhelmed. Figure out which habit you want to break first and tackle that one, then move onto the next.
IDENTIFY WHY YOU NEED TO CHANGE
Once you recognize what you need to change, that's step one towards your goal! Easy right? Not quite. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but, breaking a bad habit is going to require dedication. It is going to be difficult! Ask yourself why you want to kick this bad habit. Is it effecting your health? Is it effecting your family? Is it effecting your personal life? Once you verify why exactly this bad habit has to go, you will find more motivation towards the end result.
UNDERSTAND YOUR TRIGGERS
Determine what the triggers of your habit are. Ultimately, bad habits are the result of a situational or emotional 'reward' you receive from your carrying out your bad habit. When you feel the urge to perform this behaviour, make note of it and understand what caused you to feel this way and why you feel the urge to do it.
For example: I have been a nail biter ever since i was very young. Recently i started to tune in to what exactly "triggers" my nail biting. I've realized it comes down to boredom and nervousness. This may seem like a very generic trigger, but i had never really noticed when or why i was biting my nails. I realized that i would do it mostly when i'm bored, or in an uncomfortable situation, such as a conflict with someone, sitting in my car at a red light, during a commercial break on T.V. etc. I've realized that it's become sort of an "unconscious" bad habit and don't even notice that i'm doing it. Ever since i have started to become aware and take mental note of when i am carrying out my habit, it has become a lot easier to stop myself.
VISUALIZE YOUR LIFE WITHOUT IT
When you picture your life without this specific bad habit, what do you see? Things to consider are questions like:
What will you feel like?
How will your health be affected?
What kind of habit can I replace the bad one with?
It is important to visualize yourself succeeding as well. Picturing your life without it will help motivate you to kick the habit for good. There are many different bad habits, some are worse than others, this is why it is important to ask yourself questions that relate to the severity of yours.
REPLACe YOUR BAD HABIT WITH A GOOD ONE
Breaking a habit will become easier if you have something to replace it with. For example, If you want to break the bad habit of unhealthy eating, replace the time that would be spent eating badly with a form of exercise. Walking, biking, running, going to the gym etc. This will help motivate you to cut out bad food and fuel your body with good food since you already have your exercise in.
WRITE IT DOWN
Studies show that it takes about 21 - 66 days to make or break a habit, of course this depends solely on the severity of your bad habit. Give yourself time and write down your progress to keep track of your progress. I have created a free bad habit breaking worksheet just for you, to help you through this journey, keep reading to find out more! Just like anything you want to achieve, writing it down will help you take action on actually going through with the desired plan. Creating a plan of action will allow you to mentally note that you are going to make a change, and keep yourself accountable. Make sure you have it written somewhere you can see it all the time. When you constantly see it, you are being reminded of what you want to change.
TALK ABOUT IT
It's important to have a support system through anything. Quitting a bad habit is one of them! Talk about what you are wanting to change and why. This is going to help to keep you accountable. Only having yourself to keep you accountable is doable but will make it easier to slip up. Explain to your support system that it is important for them to call you out if they notice you slipping up.
LEARN TO FORGIVE YOURSELF
You are going to have set-backs, but don't let these set-backs discourage you. Breaking a bad habit won't be a walk in the park. It's going to require lots of self discipline and dedication. Give yourself time, and learn to forgive yourself when you slip up. Remember that it's OK to slip up, after all, you're only human. As long as you pick yourself back up, use it as a learning experience and try even harder, you are going to make it. I believe in you!
I have created a worksheet for you to help track your bad habit breaking journey. Use this as a guide in your every day to help you stay motivated and become the best version of you. All you have to do is sign up with your e-mail below, and the best part is.. it's FREE!