Breaking bad habits can be tough. In any event, they keep you away from the kind of life that you really want.
Bad habits can have a damaging impact on your physical and mental health. They can also make you feel as if you don’t have enough self-control over your urges.
You can take one step at a time in breaking bad habits. This step-by-step plan might help you out:
1. Keep track of the habit for 7 days. Note down the times you’re likely to do your bad habit. Do you smoke only around certain friends? Do you bite your nails when stressed or bored? Monitor when and under which event you usually do your bad habit.
2. Figure out the reason why you do it. Is your habit satisfying some kind of need? How does it benefit you? Making sense of the positive aspects that it brings you will help you understand it. Once you understand it, you can start to change it.
3. Develop another behavior that could replace it. Look for a substitute that could satisfy the same need that you get from your old habit. If your bad habit helps you cope with stress or anxiety, what are other options? What could you do that isn’t harmful to you?
I used to be a smoker but I started to look for alternatives when two family members died of lung cancer. I witnessed how it affected the spouses and children they left behind. So I did all I could to quit smoking. I didn’t want my partner to suffer the same fate. I wanted to live longer. Travel. Meet new friends. Explore other hobbies. There is so much more in life. So many things worth doing.
I am not sporty but I did other kinds of activities like playing touch rugby. It wasn’t so bad as I thought. I played musical instruments. Did yoga. I also used affirmations to help me like those found in MindZoom.
4. Keep track of your progress. Monitor how often you go back and do your old habit. You wouldn’t know if you are improving if you do not keep track of it.
In my case, I used the goals and habit tracker, GoalsOnTrack, in monitoring my progress. I needed a solid proof of my improvement so I would know how I could motivate myself more. I wanted to know how I could seek help and support from my loved ones, too.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Pushing yourself to break your bad habit can be daunting sometimes. There might even be times when there would be some slips back to doing them. If it happens, what do you do to get yourself back on track?
How about taking one step at a time? Instead of getting rid of your habit entirely in an extended period, try having one perfect day of not doing it. In a week, you can do it for, say, every other day. Or after every two days. Then twice a week. Once a week. It all depends on you. You can also give yourself a reward after having done your baby steps successfully.
You can start eliminating your bad habit now that you are equipped with an action plan. You’ll see improvements in 30 days as long as you stay committed and dedicated to eliminating your bad habit. It can be challenging but believe that you can do it. It all begins with a single step.