Table of contents:

10 best ways to break bad habits
10 best ways to break bad habits

Choose the most suitable method or combine several.

10 best ways to break bad habits
10 best ways to break bad habits

1. Clearly understand what you want to change

Just say, "I want to get rid of bad habits, I have a lot of them!" - not enough. You need to understand what kind of behavior you want to change. For example, do not throw your shoes in the hallway, but carefully put them on the shelf. There is not in front of the TV, but at the table. Do not sit at home in the evenings, but go for a run. Identify these specific actions, and it will be easier for you to work with them.

2. Find triggers for bad habits

Habits are essentially behavioral loops that we repeat automatically. Some signal makes us want to perform a certain action, and for it we get a reward. And so over and over again. Most often, a signal is one of the following:

  • a place;
  • time;
  • emotional condition;
  • actions of other people;
  • previous action.

Whenever you repeat a bad habit, ponder these five points and write down the results. Eventually, you will begin to notice general trends and understand what exactly is causing the habit. After that, try to eliminate the trigger or replace the unwanted action with a new one.

3. Penalize yourself

Set aside an amount every time you take an action you want to give up. Let the bad habit bring additional damage. For example, if you are too lazy to go to training, put 200 rubles in a special bank or in a separate account. You can assign different penalties for different habits, depending on the criticality of each. If you want to give up impulsive spending, save the same amount that you spent on an unnecessary thing.

To make it easier, get the support of friends and family. Let them remind you that you have to pay a fine if they spot you a bad habit. You may even agree to give a small amount to them rather than saving it for yourself. This will provide additional motivation.

4. Introduce change gradually

Don't try to change completely in one day: that is not possible. Be patient. Focus on one habit and think about the incremental, small steps you will take.

For example, let's say you want to cut down on junk food in your diet. If you try to completely rearrange your diet at once, you will fail. Instead, start with less sugar in your food, or replace the cream in your coffee with skim milk. When it starts to feel easy for you, add new small steps. Gradually, they will lead to great changes.

5. Analyze the habit before taking action

Of course, you can't wait to get rid of your bad habit. But instead of rushing into battle right away, analyze it carefully. Give yourself a month for this. Make a list of the reasons why you want to refuse it. Flag each time you do an unwanted action. This will help you better understand what causes this habit and how to deal with it.

6. Set reminders

Even if you are now enthusiastic about fighting a habit, at some point you will want to return to it. For example, when you are tired or upset about something. And sometimes you can just forget about your decision.

Let's say you promised yourself to drink only two glasses of wine at get-togethers with friends. But it's easy to forget about it when you're in a bar. In such cases, set yourself reminders on your phone. Be sure: in the future, you will thank yourself for this.

7. Find a meaningful reason

Everyone knows that smoking and eating fast food is unhealthy. But this knowledge itself is usually not enough to break a bad habit. Therefore, it is important to find reasons that are meaningful to you personally. For example, quit smoking to get serious about jogging or not fight with family members about the foul smell. Stop eating sweets to look better or spend less money.

8. Change something in the setting

If you do something in the same place for a long time, the environment itself turns into a trigger. Often we don't even notice it. For example, at work, you always go out to smoke in the office parking lot. The place becomes your trigger - a signal to get cigarettes and a lighter. Now you do it without thinking. To stop, try to change something in your usual environment.

Complete this with the 20 second rule. Make it so that it takes 20 seconds longer to start the usual action. For example, store sweets in the far corner of the closet so that they are not easy to reach. Put healthy foods in a prominent place. When you feel like grabbing a bite to eat, you will take what lies closer.

9. Train yourself to think differently about your habits

Even if we hate a habit and scold ourselves for smoking or biting our nails, we still continue to do so. So we get a sense of satisfaction, a certain psychological reward.

Watch your thoughts. Remind yourself of the negative aspects of the habit every time you think about the positives. For example, when you thought: "I am so sad, now I will eat a cake and it will be better for me," immediately tell yourself: "Now I will eat a cake and gain excess weight, and I will also increase the risk of diabetes."

Reframe your thoughts to remind yourself of the negative aspects of the habit. Do this every time you notice that you are thinking about its benefits.

10. Develop an If-Then Plan

It will help break the noose and replace the bad habit with another action. Write down what you will do when you feel like returning to it: "If I find myself in situation X, then I will do Y." In this case, X is a signal that makes you want to do a habitual action, and Y is your new behavior. For example: "If I go to a bar with my friends, I will order a non-alcoholic cocktail."

Keep your plan simple so that it doesn't take a lot of effort on your part to switch to it. At first, you will sometimes miss a signal or revert to an old pattern of behavior - this is natural. But gradually a new loop is formed, and the bad habit will remain in the past.