We all have bad habits we would like to break, whether that is chewing our nails, drinking too much coffee, smoking cigarettes, or eating sugary snacks late at night.
No matter what bad habit you are battling, there are a few easy steps to breaking those habits.
1. Recognize the Issue
The first step to solving any problem is to realize you have one. This can be tough if your habit is not one of the big ones and is a little more subtle. Drinking too much coffee almost seems normal until it starts to interfere with your daily life when you don’t have your morning latte.
If you are not sure if something you are doing is a bad habit, simply stop it for a while. Quit drinking coffee, stop eating sweets, and do it just for a week. See how your body reacts and go from there.
2. Remove Temptation
Once you have determined that you have a bad habit, or just what that habit is, remove temptation. Stop buying cigarettes or beer, and just don’t keep them in the house. Remove sweets and don’t buy any more.
Take the coffee out of your cupboard, or better yet put the coffee maker away. Choose a location where it is hard to get and pull back out easily, like a storage closet or the garage. Remove the Starbucks app from your phone, and take the card out of your wallet.
3. Replace the Habit
Sometimes one of the best ways to break a habit is to replace it with a different one. If you are struggling with smoking, consider replacing cigarettes with a vape and find the best vape juice. If you can, you should try and wean yourself off by using vape juice with lower and lower amounts of nicotine.
Replace coffee with tea, sugary snacks with healthy ones, adult beverages with non-alcoholic options. Replacing a habit satisfies your psychological needs while getting rid of the harmful aspects of it.
4. Restructure your Routine
Sometimes bad habits can be a part of our routine. Coffee in the morning, smokes at break times, snacks before bed. Sometimes these are tied to a time, sometimes to a place. By breaking your routine and avoiding that time or place, you can change your habit.
Stay inside rather than going out to smoke at break time or take a walk instead. Change your routine to make tea instead of coffee. Discipline yourself not to eat anything at least two hours before you go to bed.
Breaking or restructuring your routine can make breaking bad habits much easier.
5. Reevaluate your Friends
The friends that you keep will sometimes reinforce your habits, or they can be supportive and help you with your efforts to break them. Those friends who do not understand and support your decision to break your bad habits may need to be removed from your life.
If you are struggling with alcohol or drugs, this may be even harder. The solution may include finding new friends or support network and perhaps even moving to a different neighborhood, city, or even state to get away from peer pressure.
6. Receive Accountability
Support groups are also a great place for you to be held accountable. People will expect to see you, hear your progress, and share their own with you. There are even online groups for things as simple as diet and exercise tips, as well as addiction support groups.
Groups of smokers who are quitting are also common, and joining one is usually really easy. Having someone you can be honest with who holds you to your goals is a key to breaking bad habits.
7. Review your Progress
Have a calendar or journal, some way to record your progress, and review it whenever you are having a bad day or feel like you are struggling. This can help you see how far you have come, and keep you focused on your goals.
This is another form of accountability. Not only are others watching out for you, but you are watching out for yourself. Record your progress and struggles every day, so you have something to look back on when you are down.
8. Reward Yourself
Set milestones and reward yourself. If you have gone a month without smoking, buy yourself dinner with the money you have saved. Make it a month without caffeine and allow yourself a single coffee if you feel you can handle it and it won’t derail you.
It does not matter what these milestones are, or what you reward yourself with. The key is that not only should others acknowledge your progress, but you should as well. Make a big deal out of reaching small goals while keeping an eye on the larger ones.
Breaking habits is challenging, but by following these eight steps, you can be free from them and embark on a healthier and happier life.
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