3 Strategies to Kick Bad Habits for Good
Chances are you’ve got some kind of bad habit you wish you could kick to the curb, whether it’s biting your nails, smoking, checking your phone too often or mindlessly snacking in front of the TV. But while a lot of advice you may hear is geared towards how to start new healthy habits, it’s harder to learn how to stop doing something. No matter the habit you want to cut out of your life, these strategies can help:
- Become aware of your habit: The thing about habits is that you tend to do them without even realizing it. And that can make it impossible to stop. The first step is to keep a detailed record of how often you do the bad habit. Something as simple as having a notebook nearby and jotting down every time you want to check your social media feeds can help break you from the mindless action. You can also use your log to figure out the triggers that lead you to do the action and create effective workarounds for it.
- Focus on proactive changes: It’s natural to focus on the things you shouldn’t do, but instead come up with a positive replacement habit. Identify a healthier behavior or better way to react to the triggers and make a concerted effort to put that into action. For example, if you’ve gotten used to grabbing a sweet treat after lunch every day but want to cut back on your sugar intake, consider making a cup of tea instead. It doesn’t take much more effort, and the act itself is similar enough to the original habit that it won’t disrupt the routine you’ve established.
- Be patient with yourself: Breaking long-held habits isn’t easy, so try to set realistic goals and not be too hard on yourself if you stumble. If you find you need extra support, try sharing your efforts with a trusted friend. Involving someone else on the journey can help keep you accountable through encouragement, reminders and rewards, as well as provide important perspective when you’re struggling to keep up with your new, improved behaviors.
Have you successfully broken a bad habit? Let us know how in the comments.
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