Do you want to quit smoking or drinking too much alcohol? Or maybe you have realized how checking Facebook eats much of your time that you cannot study anymore. Or you simply procrastinate all day that you have become so unproductive lately.
Bad habits always come with a price—and it could be a harmful effect on your health, career, relationships, and your overall life. If you want to avoid that effect, then you need to do something to break free from those negative behaviors.
In order for you to overcome your bad habits, read these rewarding ways below and try to apply them in your life:
1. Be aware and convinced that they are “bad” habits.
The first thing you need is to give yourself a reason to stop these habits. You need to recognize that the behaviors you consider to be “bad” are really are because they have a negative impact on you or others. Think about their effects on you—how they hinder you from being productive, healthy, or a good role model to your loved ones—and make up your mind about ditching them for good.
2. Find out what triggers them.
Habits and mannerisms have patterns. They are triggered by cues which signal your brain that it is time to do the ‘habit’. The usual trigger for compulsive behaviors is stress since your body looks for a way to release the tension inside. For instance, you probably resort to uncontrollable shopping spree every time you come out of the office overwhelmed by pressure.
3. Set your mind on the goal of breaking these behaviors.
After finding out the triggers, you need to start planning on how to break your unhealthy habits. It is time that you set a goal of overcoming them, and come up with specific steps of how to achieve it.
4. Get rid of temptations.
The first step should be removing anything that would remind you of your habit. For example, if you want to quit smoking, then getting rid of the ashtray from your desk will be a good start. Another would be avoiding the usual cues that lead you to them. If meeting with your friends after work always ends up in the bar, then maybe you should start limiting your meetups with them.
5. Replace them with “good habits”.
It is difficult to stop any habit, especially if they give you stress-relief because your body would automatically seek them every time you are stressed. For this reason, the best thing to do is look for healthier habits that can replace the negative ones. Like if you have the tendency to eat too much whenever you are strained, you can direct your steps to the gym to workout instead of going to a restaurant.
6. Take one step at a time.
Changing a habit does not happen overnight. Therefore, do not pressure yourself to completely break your bad habits in just a day or two. It may take weeks or months—sometimes even years—depending on how consistent your effort is and how effective your strategies are. Celebrate every small progress you make.
7. Do not let frustrations discourage you from pressing on.
Expect that there will be times when you would fail and succumb back to your unwanted behavior. It is normal to feel guilty and frustrated, but do not be discouraged from trying to change again. Do not focus on the one step you have taken backward. What matters is that you are still two or three steps ahead from your old self.
8. Keep yourself busy with other things to divert your attention.
Another step to keep you from your former habit is by distracting yourself. Whenever you are tempted to do it again, find something else that can occupy your mind. For example, if you are struggling against pornography and you are tempted to watch one, go out of the house and play your favorite sport with your friends instead.
9. Surround yourself with people who live your ideal lifestyle.
Be with people who can inspire you to live a healthy, clean, and productive lifestyle. Moreover, it is best if you let them know about what you are struggling with so they can serve as your accountability partners. They can also give you tips on how to avoid or change your negative habits.
10. Envision yourself being free from those habits.
From time to time, you need to remind yourself why you are pursuing to change your behaviors. One way to do this is by constantly visualizing a better you once you succeed in breaking free from your bondages.
11. Track your progress.
By monitoring your improvement, you will be more encouraged to resist your old behaviors. Seeing how far you have reached since the time you started your change plan will give you a sense of fulfillment—and you would not want a single failure to ruin that momentum. You can track your development by keeping a list of how many times you have done your habit in a day or depending on how often you regularly did it in the past.
12. Create a reward system for yourself every time you win over them.
Promising yourself a reward for a whole week of not giving in to temptations will motivate you to try harder. An example would be watching the movie you are excited to see in the weekend (and you can never watch it if you fail).
13. Stay away from stress.
Since stress is one of the usual reasons why people develop bad habits, find out how you can avoid being stressed up. The more pressure you receive from your daily life, the more you need to pamper yourself. Do not be guilty of treating yourself to the spa or your favorite coffee shop because you have the responsibility to take care of yourself emotionally and psychologically as well.
ALSO READ: 10 Smart Ways to Manage Stress in Life
14. Work on your self-control.
Self-control is the best weapon that can help you break your bad habits totally. Practice this by staying away from temptations and allowing others to rebuke you whenever they notice your impulsiveness.
You Can Break Free
How long you can overcome your negative habits depends greatly on your self-discipline. Just be consistent and persistent, and surely you will be able to conquer your battles.