5 Ways to Break Bad Habits
A habit in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Some habits are extremely useful, such as brushing your teeth twice a day or cleaning behind your ears when you shower. Habits, by nature, are processes that our bodies and minds link up to work through consistently enough that they become second nature. When these things are useful, that biochemical habit forming process is great. However, sometimes we form habits that are harmful to our health or to others around us. This is when our brains and bodies linking up can cause us harm. If something good can become second nature to you, so can something bad. This is where we have to learn how to make a proactive effort to break our body and minds cyclical nature and get rid of bad behavior. If you find yourself struggling to do this, then here are five ways you can work on breaking that bad habit.
- Link Up Habits
A great way to start out on your journey of ridding yourself of a bad habit is to connect your bad habit with a new good habit or to start a new good habit by linking it up with another habit that you already have. For example, if you are trying to lose weight but are having trouble maintaining your exercise and health eating routines, you can start to wear your Thrive Patch every time you go for a run. Linking up two habits like this can ease your brain into forming a new, positive routine!
- Figure Out How and Why
In order to figure out the best way for you to break your bad habit, you need to figure out why and how you started this bad habit. Perhaps you started eating candy bars every time you went to the grocery store as a checkout treat for doing a boring task, and now your brain receives a chemical reward whenever you eat that unhealthy bar of sugar. Once you understand the how and why, then you can use your logic and reasoning to figure out what path you need to take in order to break that habit.
- Try a Replacement
Another way people have successfully rid themselves of a bad habit is by completely replacing the behavior with something entirely new. This is a way of using logic to trick the chemical signals in your brain and essentially rewire your behavioral patterns. One example of this would be replacing a cigarette break at work with a quick jog around the block. Utilizing this trick can be extremely positive for your health, especially if your replacement behavior is a healthful one.
- Force Accountability
In order to make this change permanent, you need to give yourself a net of accountability. Whether you invite your friends and family to help hold you accountable with their consent, or you get the guidance of a licensed therapist, you should consider finding a support group of some kind to force you to continue to hold yourself accountable.
- Take Away Temptations
The last, big step that you can take to ensure you make this big change in your life is to remove any possible relationship to the bad habit. If you are trying to quit smoking, consider throwing out all ashtrays, old cigarettes and any other smoking paraphernalia. Removing these visual cues can help you to move forward with this new phase of your life!
Bad habits can be extremely difficult to kick. It is an admirable thing to do for yourself and those who love you to take a critical look at your behavior and try to become the best version of yourself that you can be. Some of these habits you may want to break could be life threatening immediately, or they could have long term consequences that are not worth the short term rushes. It is never a bad idea to ask for help from your friends and family or even to seek professional health. What matters the most is that you decided to kick that bad habit to the curb!