Bad habits are hard to break and some of them prevent us from living life to its full potential. A list of bad habits includes biting nails, eating junk food, spending too much money etc. It does not matter whether you have tried to break a bad habit once before. Use the following strategies to stop a bad habit permanently.
1. Analyze the pay off
Pay off is what you get in return for indulging in the bad habit. For example, when you constantly postpone doing the dishes- the pay off is that you get to spend more time in front of the TV, or read or do whatever else you do. Thus, every bad habit has a payoff. Once you know that the pay off isn’t as lucrative as you think it to be, you’d be in a better position to avoid the habit.
2. Analyze the tradeoff
The tradeoff is the negative thing you gain due to the bad habit. For example, eating too much of chocolate will make you gain weight or not doing the dishes would make it harder to clean them later. When you look at the tradeoffs analytically you are in a better position to break the habits.
3. Decide between the two
Make a decision to break the bad habit. This is an important part of setting goals and planning how you will break the habit. Once you have the payoff and tradeoff clearly in front of you, you will need to choose between them, each time you feel like indulging in the habit. This means that you will need to make a choice and your mind would have to value either the payoff or the tradeoff.
4. Stay mindful
By paying attention to your task at hand, you will be able to stop bad habits addictions. Keep your mind in the present moment. Practice staying in the ‘now’. If you think about the past or worry about the future, you are more likely to indulge in the bad habits. For example, mindless eating or binge eating usually comes from stress associated with worrying about the future or reminiscing about the past.
5. Take baby steps
Small realistic and achievable goals are the best way to break bad habits and set good habits in 21 days. The goal is to repeat the good behavior every day and follow a slow and steady approach to win the race. Set a start date to the challenge or goal that you set for yourself. Commit to a 30 day challenge from this date. You can also set a baseline metric and even try setting incremental goals.
6. Cope with stress
Bad habits like smoking often stem from stress, If you are dealing with work related stress or issues at home, you must find ways to cope with it. Use mindfulness meditation, positive visualization, deep breathing, yoga or other mind body practices.
7. Know difference between bad habits and addictions
Bad habits include binge eating, nail biting etc. Addictions include staying online always or being hooked to the SmartPhone, smoking or drinking all the time. If you believe you have an addiction problem you may want to seek professional help for it.
8. Understand habit loops
Identify the habit routine. Record what triggers the habit. Try rewarding yourself each time you do not indulge in the habit. Create an if-then plan based on rewards, tradeoff and payoff. Use habit reminders to stay consistent.
9. Build a support system
Keep a journal. Talk to your friends and family and ask for their help. Do not pay attention to naysayers. Find someone who will keep you accountable. Avoid trigger locations and people.
10. Overcome challenges
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Know that the key to breaking bad habits is to love yourself immensely and put yourself first. Beware of the ‘what the hell’ attitude which will make you indulge in the habit. Practice self forgiveness. Celebrate small milestones and small wins. Focus on the journey and not the destination. Exercise daily-when you look good, you feel good!
Many people have used these 10 easy ways to change a bad habit, and so can you! Good luck!