6 ways to break bad habits!
These days we can’t get enough of Alexis’s blogs! She is hard at work developing new ideas and ways to help Jeffrey over the bad day blues when he hits a hump. She knows breaking bad habits doesn’t happen over night, but here are some action items you can take today to get started! These are some things which work for her and Jeffrey. Thanks, Alexis!
Breaking Bad Habits Tip 1. Reverse “swear jar” method
Instead of penalizing yourself every time you engage in a bad habit, REWARD yourself every time you overcome it. Put a dollar in a jar every time you choose fruit or veggies over junk food to snack on. Then in 21 days (minimum time it takes to make or break a habit) spend it on yourself in a positive way which encourages you to continue beating your bad habit. For example, buy a new dress, shirt, pants, etc at the end of your 21 days. I’m sure if you chose fruit or another healthier snack over junk food, you’ve probably lost some weight too!
Breaking Bad Habits Tip 2. Be aware of what provokes your bad habit
Understanding the how and why you make certain decisions is vital to changing the end result. Make a note every time you start to participate in your bad habit. It could be location, feeling, time, other people involved or actions leading up to the bad habit. Once you are more aware of what causes these poor choices, you’ll get better at preparing yourself for specific “triggers.” This will allow you to plan for improved action. You can also take it one step further by trying to cut out as many of these triggers from your life as possible. You’ll make it easier to break these bad habits if you bypass what causes them altogether.
Breaking Bad Habits Tip 3. Make small slow changes
When implementing change into your life, it’s always easier to start small and slow so you don’t become overwhelmed. Focus on one bad habit at a time and take little steps towards eliminating it. If your goal is to eat healthier, start by cutting down the amount of soda or coffee you drink. If your goal is to be more active, start walking or running three times a week. The more you reach these smaller goals, the stronger and more satisfied you’ll feel. Gradually, you’ll be able to take on more and add additional changes to your life.
Breaking Bad Habits Tip 4. Set up reminders
Put reminders in place! Whether they are on your phone, calendar, or notes around your house, these will be automatic reminders to catch yourself in your weakest moments. If you know you get tempted for a late night snack, place a note on your fridge, pantry door, or cabinet reminding yourself to grab a healthy option. If you told yourself you were only going to have one drink at dinner, put an alarm on your phone with a note reminding yourself not to order that second beverage. Providing yourself with a safety net is the best way to keep you from getting off track.
Breaking Bad Habits Tip 5. Change your thoughts about your bad habit
Most bad habits tend to provide some sort of gratification or mental reward for us when we do them. Try to catch yourself when you’re having pleasing thoughts or emotions towards your bad habit and remind yourself of the negative impacts they have. That cigarette might make you feel relaxed after a long day at work, but remind yourself the harm it does to your body. That piece of cake might give you some satisfaction while you eat it, but remembering how much sugar is in it makes it less tempting. The more you attach negative thoughts towards something, the less likely you are going to want to engage with it.
Breaking Bad Habits Tip 6. Replace them with good habits
Focus on developing positive habits instead of trying to just remove the bad ones. By doing so, it becomes far easier and more natural to overcome them. For instance, instead of focusing on playing video games or watching television less, set some time aside each day to read a book or take a walk. Find productive ways to fill that period where you would be engaging in your bad habit. Instead of saying “I want to complain less,” try putting effort towards saying what you’re grateful for each day. Putting your energy towards practicing good habits will eventually help you overcome the negative ones.
For more tips on breaking bad habits, check out our spot lighted blogs:
- Tim Ferris
- Ben Austin