Our habits are very important. They tend to impact our health and well-being and happiness a lot more than other things. After all, habits are the things we do every day, so their effects build up over time. This means that if we have bad habits, we need to get rid of them as soon as we can because otherwise, they are likely to do us harm.
Although breaking a habit is not always easy, here are a few tips for breaking those stubborn habits.
1. Awareness is important
The first thing to do is to recognize that the habit is bad and that you need to break it. For example, many smokers insist that smoking does them more good than it harms, and until they change this mindset, it can be difficult to modify the habit in question.
Accept that you have a habit that is not working with you. There is no need to be harsh, simply acknowledge it and give yourself permission to start working to break it.
2. Make a plan
Don’t expect the habit to go away. Rather, it’s likely to grow stronger with time, not weaker. You have to work to get rid of it and for that, you need a plan. Focus on the short-term first.
For example, you might decide to go for one week without the habit. Then, you can do one month. Setting a clear deadline is a lot easier and makes us more likely to commit and go through with the change.
3. Have an alternative option
A habit leaves behind a hole, so we need something to fill it with. We need to start creating a new, healthier habit that will distract us and allow us to let go of the bad habit as well.
For example, if you always smoke when you are stressed, what can you do instead? You might meditate or drink a soothing cup of tea, or do something else that will be better for your health. Come up with an alternative habit that is better for your well-being and that can easily be used when you need it.
4. Keep yourself busy
The old habit can be on our minds when we are idle. If you keep yourself busy, it can make the process a lot easier, because you have a lot to do and a lot to think about.
Especially when you first are working to get rid of a habit, have a lot more things to do and distract yourself with pleasant and fun experiences or tasks.
5. Find accountability
Often, it helps to have someone else know about our commitment to keep us accountable. Tell a trusted friend, family member, or even a community and ask them to check in on your progress. If you start slipping, the accountability will often help you get back on track.
Plus, other people can have useful tips and might offer your moral support that is often sorely needed. If there is someone else around you who also wants to give up a bad habit, doing it together can boost your commitment and also allow you to work it through with additional support.
6. Don’t give up if you slip
A habit can suddenly come back with a vengeance, so don’t beat yourself up if you have a setback. If you had a pizza after a few weeks of dieting, it can feel like a defeat, but in reality, it’s just a normal obstacle.
Acknowledge what happened and try not to do it a second time. Just go back to what you were doing and keep pushing the new habit that you want to implement.
7. Give it time
A habit is something our brains get used to and might seek out when it’s gone. This can cause a bit of discomfort, however, you need to remember that this discomfort will pass quickly enough.
Remind yourself that the situation is temporary and will improve soon enough, but also that a habit, especially an ingrained one, won’t disappear after one day.