We all have bad habits that we want to break. The good news is that you can break them with the right approach. Here are some ways to help you stop your bad habits once and for all:
1. Identify Your Bad Habit and Why You Want to Change It
The first step to breaking a bad habit is identifying why you want to change it. If you’re constantly late for work or appointments because of a lack of planning, list all the negative consequences this has had on your life. Identify how other people are being negatively affected by this bad habit. Understanding the negative effects of your bad habit will help keep you motivated and focused on changing it.
2. Create A Strategy Based on Your Bad Habit
You can only break a habit if you know what it is. The first step should be to determine why this behavior exists in the first place. Then, find ways to deal with those issues in a way that doesn’t involve chewing off all of your fingernails.
3. Make Your Plan Smart
To make breaking a habit easier, think about what you want to do instead of the bad habit. For example, if you’re going to stop biting your nails but can’t seem to get away from them when you watch TV, try putting on fingerless gloves and wearing them while watching TV. This will keep your hands busy without making them look silly (like if they were stuffed into those plastic containers).
4. Be Honest with Yourself
You need to be honest about why you want to break the habit. Once you’ve identified your bad habit, look at how it affects you and what you’re willing to do to break it. Be specific about the best time frame for your schedule and stick to it!
5. Make Gradual Changes
You’re probably familiar with this advice: “Don’t try to change everything at once.” If you’re trying to break a bad habit and get into a good one, it’s even more important to heed this advice.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up while breaking your bad habit. Your brain doesn’t like difficult things; it’ll find any excuse to stop making the change in behavior or thought. So don’t beat yourself up when you fail—pick yourself up and keep going!
- Make gradual changes whenever possible (no sudden shifts), but try not to set unrealistic goals for yourself. If replacing one unhealthy food with another is easier for you than making all new choices about food, then go for that first step! But if you know it would be better if your whole diet changed, do what works best for you.
- Finally, try not to let changing habits become tedious by keeping track of how many days in a row you’ve done something new or healthy.
6. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
No one is perfect, and neither are you. You will make mistakes—it’s natural! Mistakes are a part of life and allow us to learn from our pasts and grow into better people in the future. Don’t let your failures discourage you; instead, use them as opportunities to grow stronger and wiser.
Breaking bad habits is a process that takes time, but you can do it! Remember that this isn’t about punishing yourself for being human. Instead, focus on gradually changing your routine and finding ways to reward yourself when those changes are successful. You may even find that breaking your bad habit gives you more time to focus on other things in life—like those goals we talked about earlier.