We all want to be healthy, strong, energized, and happy. So why do so many of us have habits that take us in an opposite direction? Simple: Losing a habit requires change. And of all the things we do in a day, changing is by far the hardest. Losing a habit requires change. You know this, and so do the experts.
Here, the 12 guiding principles for breaking a bad habit:
- Focusing on quitting one bad habit at a time. It takes 30-60 days for a habit to form. By focusing on quitting one habit at a time, you will be more likely to succeed.
- Have a replacement for your bad habit. By consciously choosing a positive habit that will replace the bad habit you are trying to quit, you will have something useful to do as an alternative every time you feel the urge.
- Reward yourself for small victories. Quitting a bad habit isn’t easy. Reward yourself and celebrate when certain subgoals are met. Just make sure it’s not counterproductive like a big sundae for losing pounds.
- Anticipate the initial hump of resistance. Be aware of the facts that in the beginning, quitting something will be very difficult but will get easier the more you stick through it.
- Move forward one step at a time, break your goals into bite sized chunks. Example : Do you want to quit eating junk food? Rather than swearing off all bad food cold turkey, start with not eating sugary snacks after dinner time and slowly build on that.
- Seek support from others. Join a support group, go online, have friends and family help you, enlist in an accountability buddy. There is power in numbers.
- Know your triggers and avoid them (or be very aware of them). Do you like to smoke in the backyard patio on the lawn chair at night? Remove the lawn chair. Do you go to a certain bar after work? Change the way you go home from work.
- Change your environment. Do you want to stop watching bad TV? Remove the TV from your bedroom. Bring more books into the house. Get rid of foods you would snack on while watching TV.
- Fuel your motivation by regularly visualising the success of your new lifestyle. You are quitting because it is good for you and you will feel so much better when you don’t do it anymore. Keep reminding yourself.
- Every time you feel the urge, pause and take a few deep breaths. By doing this every time you feel the urge, you will increase your will power incrementally.
- Have visual reminders for why you want to break the bad habit.
- Remember that it’s okay if you don’t succeed the first time. Quitting a bad habit is not easy. Don’t give up.