How to Break a Habit

change habit personal growth Feb 08, 2023

We all have them - those pesky habits that we know are bad for us but we can't seem to break them. Whether it's biting your nails, spending too much time on social media, or procrastinating, bad habits can be challenging to shake, but don't despair. There are several practical tips you can follow to break a bad habit. This blog post will discuss some of these strategies and how you can finally kick that bad habit for good.

Breaking habits can be challenging, but it's possible.

A habit forms when we continuously do something until it becomes almost involuntary for us to do the activity. It can be something we do during a particular time or whenever something triggers us to make the habit. Habits can either be good or bad. There are no problems with good habits as they can benefit us when they have become a routine, such as regularly exercising, eating healthy foods, being punctual, finishing jobs on time, etc. However, when we talk about breaking habits, it's the bad ones we are talking about, such as regularly smoking or drinking, procrastinating, binge eating, sleeping late at night, etc.

Bad habits can be detrimental to our well-being despite deriving some fulfillment or happiness from doing them. We form such unwanted habits for reasons that may not be immediately obvious, such as coping with stress and boredom. When we want to break bad habits, we become aware that we are doing such things and recognize the benefits we can get by removing them from our lifestyle. It may not be easy to break or change an unhealthy habit, but some things can help us change for the better.

1. Develop awareness that you have a bad habit

Habits are done almost automatically. We may not almost pay attention as to why we do them and when. So if you want to break a bad habit, you must become aware first that you have a habit and that it is a bad one. Practicing mindfulness can help you become more aware of your actions and surroundings. Once you become aware of what you are doing, you can start making positive changes.

2. Identify the reason why you are doing something

Once you become more mindful of your actions, you can start analyzing why you have such a habit. You may not notice it, but there can be a good reason why such bad habits form. A common reason for making some harmful habits is that they are done to cope with stress. For example, some people like to drink or smoke to help them forget their problems. Another reason could be boredom. For example, you may want to check social media and browse on your phone whenever you feel bored. Whatever the reason, it is vital to identify them so you can take action and control your habit.

3. Why do you like to change or remove your habit?

After identifying why you do a habit, the next thing to ask yourself is why you like to change or remove such a habit. What could benefit you from altering or removing a practice you are so used to doing? For example, why would you like to stop smoking or overeating? A possible answer is that you want to be healthier and live longer because you still have many things you want to do. Once you identify the benefits of changing or removing a bad habit, the benefits must also resonate with your values and interests. Otherwise, what's the point of changing if the benefits don't matter to you? So it would be best if you changed your habit to attain something that matters to you.

4. Plan how you will change or remove your habit

So you wanted to change? After identifying your reasons and benefits from changing, the next step is to plan how you will do it. It is easy to say that you want to break a specific behavior or action, but doing it is another thing. The process will take some time before you alter or remove a habit. Just as it took some time and repetition before something became a habit for you, it will also be the same when trying to change it. Don't expect you can suddenly break a habit within a day or week. Start by making small changes, like not doing your habit for a day, and try to sustain it for a specific time. It may take weeks or months before a new habit forms. Also, don't beat yourself up if you fail to commit by doing your habitual behaviors again after a while. It can be challenging to remove or change a habit when starting. Try to do it for a day first, followed by several days, a week, then see if you can sustain it for several weeks. It can help if you try to jot down the number of times you can commit to your change. Also, having somebody hold you accountable whenever you fail to commit will help. Rewarding yourself every time or every set period you can commit can motivate you to change your habit.

5. Alter your environment and do something about your triggers

Your environment plays a vital part when trying to create new habits or breaking a habit that has negative effects. For example, if you want to quit smoking, try not to mingle with other smokers, and don't go to places where you may see people smoking, such as in bars that allow it. Being aware of what triggers you to make a habit can also help. For example, if you notice you always drink or overeat whenever you are stressed, it might be a good idea to identify what causes you to be stressed and do something about it. If you are not stressed, you will not make the habit you usually do. Having people supporting your willingness to change can also help and motivate you to commit, such as joining other people who are also trying to make a change similar to yours.

6. Replace the bad behavior with something else

Completely removing bad habits can be challenging, and sometimes, we may experience a relapse and do them again after a period of not doing them anymore. Committing to change can also be difficult. Sometimes, when removing a bad habit doesn't work, replacing it with another habit that is better and doesn't affect you negatively can work. For example, you may try replacing the habit with chewing gum or eating candy when quitting smoking. The replacement activity still involves putting something in your mouth, but gums and sweets are not as dangerous as cigarettes when it comes to affecting your health. In addition, you get the same satisfaction and fulfillment from your past activity with the new action you are replacing it. We make certain habits because we get something out of them, and completely removing a bad habit may cause us to feel at a loss, so replacing works by giving us the same fulfillment but with a healthier or better alternative.

7. Commit to your change

So you managed to get rid of your bad habits; congratulations! The real challenge begins: ensuring you don't return to your old habit and maintain consistency with your new routine. This part of the process is where people can falter, as they may suddenly find themselves doing their old activities again. Gathering enough willpower and discipline to maintain your new behavior is challenging, and you don't need to go at it alone. You can ask a friend or family member to reprimand you whenever you get tempted to do something again that negatively affects your well-being. You can also control and motivate yourself and think about the long-term gains you can have with your new habits. What's important is to keep at it and not give in when you think about making your old habits again.

Break bad habits and become better.

When we want to break a habit that affects us negatively, we desire to become better and recognize the value of taking care of ourselves. It is not easy to change or remove something that has become a habit, but anybody can do it with enough motivation and support from others. It is good to visualize the better you from the future, which you can attain if you commit to the changes you want to happen in your life. And if you think about it, you weren't doing your bad habits before, but perhaps they formed due to challenges and problems you encountered. You can go back to how good you were before and follow a more upbeat track so you can grow and start making progress toward attaining something beneficial and valuable to your life.

🌟 Transform Your Year with the Get It Done-NOW! Annual Planner! 🌟

Are you ready to make this year your most productive yet? Say goodbye to procrastination and hello to success with our exclusive Get It Done-NOW! Annual Planner. This isn't just any planner; it's your personal roadmap to achieving your goals, organizing your tasks, and skyrocketing your efficiency

📅 What's Inside?

  • Goal-setting guides to clarify your vision
  • Monthly, weekly, and daily planning pages to organize your life
  • Productivity tips and tricks to keep you motivated
  • Space for reflections to celebrate your victories

And the best part? It's FREE!

💡 Why Get It Done-NOW!? Because we believe in turning ambitions into achievements. With this planner, you're not just planning your days; you're crafting your future.

Don't Wait for Tomorrow, Get It Done Today!

Click the button to download your FREE Get It Done-NOW! Annual Planner PDF and start your journey towards a more organized, productive, and fulfilling year.

Your future self will thank you!

Get The Free Planner!