Stopping a bad habit can be a real challenge. In fact bad habits are a large cause for many people to feel powerless. Here are 11 steps to breaking a habit.
Step 1: Recognise it is bad for you.
Bad habits can be in many forms. From smoking to over thinking, they all qualify as a bad habit. The first thing you must do is agree that whatever habit you want to stop is a bad habit. Agree with yourself that it doesn’t benefit you in any way and this will be the first step. Identifying that things need to change and committing to that positive change is the first step.
Step 2: Research for tips that may help.
Go search and look up the thing you need to shift, get books, talk to people who may have succeeded. Maybe its OCD, smoking, or overeating, but either way find out what tips may help you.
Step 3: Change your environment.
If an alcoholic wants to stop drinking, then to stop going to bars and clubs. The pub is no place for an alcoholic regardless of what they may think. This is a real factor and a lot of people don’t realise that your environment has a major influence on you. Even down to the girl who can’t stop thinking about her ex boyfriend. Take down the pictures of him, avoid passing his house if possible and these changes will help break a habit.
Step 4: Don’t make it easy.
Make it more difficult to access what you don’t want to access. Making these physical changes won’t cure it but will help. If you are giving up smoking then let your friends know not to offer you one. Put blocks in place that help you stop pursuing the habit. Make it difficult to facilitate your habit.
Step 5: Remove the triggers.
Get rid of whatever makes you think of the habit. These can be times of the day that the habit is at its strongest. Do something different at those times to occupy yourself. Form a new habit.
Step 6: Train your brain.
This is the mental side of the task. Start working on your mental associations you have with the habit. If you associate a cigarette after dinner, change this association by being assertive in your thoughts and changing the association for something else. A thought like, I love watching TV, or walking, or something that you do like (something that can’t become a bad habit) if continued. Even say it out loud and change your thinking. If you feel you are obsessing check out this blog on Obsessive thoughts.
Step 7: Start something new.
Get busy with a new challenge. Something that lines up with your passions. Maybe joining a club, or doing something creative. When we fill up our time its harder to fall to the old habits, but do remember to rest its not all about go, go, go.
Step 8: Set goals.
Put time frames of going without the habit. If you can only manage two days then start with that. The key here is to always have an increasing goal each time you reach a goal. Always progressing.
Step 9: Share your experience.
Let people know what you are doing (if possible). This gives you more incentive to keep going when days get tough. Its sort of an accountability thing. Its good to have somebody to chat to when the going gets tough.
Step 10: Don’t go by feelings.
Don’t be lead by your feelings but instead be lead by your decision to quit. Your body will feel like it wants to fall back into the old cycle but don’t be fooled. The body will take time to catch up with the new regime.
Step 11: Treat yourself.
Yes treat yourself when you achieve certain time frames of being without the habit. If you can go for only a week to start with, then thats a great start so treat yourself. But then set a new target and treat yourself when you make it. Its harder to fall back to old habits when you start to see how far you’ve come.
I do wish you well on your challenge ahead and as always if you feel you need professional help don’t hesitate to contact somebody. If you want life coaching help get in touch HERE