The 5 Keys to Breaking Bad Habits

Breaking bad habits can be a tough process, but it doesn't have to be. Here are the 5 keys to breaking bad habits.

 It’s a healthy combination of establishing awareness that an issue exists, altering the way you speak to yourself about it, and making the change as simple and pleasant as you possibly can.

It’s doable by going through these 5 stages.

how to break bad habits


Step 1. Own up.

If you plan to make any type of change in your life, whether it’s about improving your health or lowering your debt, the first step is to be honest with yourself. Identify the issue and explain it plainly. Don’t be frightened to state what it truly is, even though it may feel horrible to actually utter the words out loud. Remember: as long as you’re avoiding the issue, you’re procrastinating action towards addressing it.

Here’s how to own up:

Instead of I don’t know why my health has been terrible recently, explain I have been eating too much fast food and I haven’t worked out once this year.

Instead of I don’t know where my money goes each month, say I don’t keep track of how much I spend on purchasing new clothing over the weekend.

Step 2. Change how you speak to yourself.

Did you notice how many individuals use the word “should” when they speak about poor habits? I should really stop eating doughnuts or I shouldn’t watch TV so much or I should stop going to bed so late? Whenever we use the word “should,” we can be sure it’s because someone else instructed us to do something, or we believe it’s a rule that has to be followed. But that’s not persuasive enough. We may believe we should, but do we truly want to make the change? What’s in it for us if we do? The words we speak to ourselves may make a tremendous effect.

Here’s how to modify how you speak to yourself:

Instead of I should study every day, add I wish to become an engineer.

Instead of I should go to the gym 5 times a week, say I want to become a runner.

Step 3. Make it simple to do.

Getting rid of a harmful habit might feel frightening, particularly if you set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Take New Year’s resolutions as an example. For many individuals, there’s a lot of pressure to start new habits each January, so they buy for a gym membership and tell pals they’ll work out 7 days a week with the objective to lose 20 pounds in a few months. And after a few weeks, attendance at most gyms drops down. Why? Because it’s hard to keep the pace.

Here’s how to make it simple to do:

Instead of I need to go to the gym after work even though I’m exhausted, say I’ll go for a 15-minute stroll after supper.

Instead of I having to clean my whole living room Saturday morning, say I’ll straighten up the room for 5 minutes each night before going to bed.

Step 4. Make a good habit appealing.

No one is going to be inspired to make a change if it will seem like a major sacrifice. Sure, I know it’s better to give up a harmful habit like watching Netflix every night, but if I cut it out altogether, how would it feel? Or if I adore eating chocolate every day and I tell myself I can’t eat it at all any longer, won’t it seem like a sort of punishment? To move out of the negative mentality, it might help to adopt “habit stacking” – build one behavior atop another so you can make a shift progressively.

Here’s the the formula for how to make a good habit attractive:

After [current habit], I will [habit I require].

After [habit I need], I will [habit I desire].

Now let’s explore how you may apply it to your day.

After I eat supper at 8 p.m. [present habit], I’ll go out for a 20-minute stroll [habit I need].

After my 20-minute stroll [habit I need], I’ll watch my favorite program on Netflix for an hour [habit I desire].

Step 5. Reward yourself.

Now that you’re working on cutting out a poor habit and moving to a more positive one, it’s crucial to provide yourself incentives to keep going. Think of it as a reward system for the brain. You conduct a beneficial deed, then you reward yourself for doing it. There are various methods to reward oneself, but the trick is in keeping it simple enough to get the idea over.

Here’s how to reward yourself:

If you’ve been on track with coming to the gym 3 times a week, your reward might be to arrange a massage over the weekend to pamper your body and give it some TLC. Signal to the brain: we’re taking excellent care of our health.

If you’re keeping to a new budget by avoiding dining at restaurants every week, save away the cash amount you’re saving (f.ex., $50) in an envelope. Signal to the brain: we are saving enough for a trip in six months.

If your aim is to accomplish your homework on time for your Friday class, develop a checklist for each day of the week, with one thing you must do every day. Then tick it off when you do it. Signal to the brain: we’re making progress and we’re on top of our assignments!