Most of us have at least one bad habit that we just can’t seem to kick. Whether it be smoking, over-indulging in foods that we know are bad for us, biting our fingernails, grinding our teeth or drinking a couple of glasses of wine per night, we know that these behaviours are bad for us. The problem is that we just can’t seem to stop!
In today’s blog we’re going to look at some strategies for kicking our bad habits once and for all. We all want to be happier and healthier instead of being held hostage by our habits, so it’s time to make a break for freedom! Let’s get started with making some positive changes to our bad behaviours.
Make a Promise to Yourself
Trying to change for someone else is admirable but you’re never going to make a change stick unless you’re doing it for yourself. Without a strong will to change, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Eventually, your old habits will creep back in and you will find yourself back in the same place you started.
A good way to get into the ‘quitting’ mindset is to make a list of all of the pros and cons associated with giving up your bad habit. Odds are you will find that there are a lot more pros than cons. Keep your list in a prominent place so that you can look at it often and whenever you need to remind yourself of the promise you have made to break that habit.
Announce it to the World
Whilst promising yourself you will give up that bad habit is the first step towards freedom, you’re going to need some help. Announcing your intentions to your friends and family will help you to stay committed to your goal, as they will help to hold you accountable. Psychologically, the idea of failing in front of them will keep you working towards your goal for fear of damaging your pride.
You’re also going to need some cheerleaders around you to provide support during your tough times. You will inevitably be tempted to give into your bad habit every now and then. It’s at these times that you will be thankful for some much needed encouragement to stay on the straight and narrow.
Reprogramme Your Behaviour
Our brains can be tricky things. Routines can very easily become ingrained in our psyche and it can be hard to break that repeated behaviour. In order to try and give yourself the best shot at giving up your bad habit, you need to find an opposing good behaviour to replace the bad.
For instance, if you’re trying to give up smoking then a potential replacement for the behaviour would be to have a glass of water or go for a stroll. Once you’ve replaced the habit with something that is good for you, keep repeating it until it becomes automatic.
Identify Your Risk Areas
If you know that there are going to be certain situations where you’re more likely to give in to temptation, then you need to identify them and plan ahead. For example, if you’re on a diet and you already know that your afternoon tea and cake is going to be one temptation too far then make sure you’ve thought about how to battle those cravings in advance.
Plan to replace the behaviour with one that is good for you or keep yourself busy and avoid the situation altogether. Alternatively, find a healthy replacement for that slice of cake!
Responsibility goes hand in hand with committing to give up your bad habit. If you want to take control of your life then policing yourself is a step in the right direction. Logging your cravings, your feeling of triumph on good days and your emotions on your bad days will help you to keep track of any potential triggers for your bad habit.
In order to succeed you have to be strict with yourself and hold yourself accountable. When the temptation becomes too great, get your log out and note the feelings around why you want to give in to your bad habit. Have you had a stressful day at work? Has someone upset you? Write it all down and examine why you want to break that promise to yourself and ask yourself, is it worth it?
Reward Your Successes
Along with policing yourself and holding yourself accountable, it’s also important to celebrate your successes! When you’ve done well all week then remember to treat yourself to something that you enjoy. Indulge in a self-care day and have some pampering with a luxurious bath, using all of your favourite products. Buy that new top that you’ve had your eye on. Go out and have some fun with friends and family.
Make sure that you mentally link the reward with the feeling of achievement you experience for not giving in to that bad habit.
We hope that these tips will help you to start thinking about how you can kick your bad habits. With the right strategy in place and support around you, you can do anything. So, put your plan in place and start making the change today. You can do it!