If you have some bad habits in your life, then depending on what they are, they can impact your life in some big ways and some small ways. If you have a bad habit of biting your nails, for example, then you will find it hard to ever get the nails that you want, and if you do it when you are nervous, it can be something that can impact your work life. There are some more unhealthy bad habits that can take over your life too, both physically and mentally, wasting your time, money, and energy.
So the real question is, if they do this to us, why do we still do these habits that we know aren’t good for us? And at the same time, what can we do to correct our behaviors and start to kick the bad habits that we have? There can be a number of reasons why we start a particular habit, but how can we make real change and stop the habits that we know are bad for us? Sticking to healthy habits is going to be much better for us all.
What leads to our bad habits?
When you think about where the majority of your habits come from, they are often out of boredom or stress. A lot of the time, our bad habits are just a way of dealing with how we are feeling when we either feel stressed or bored. You may be someone who overspends when shopping, twists and pulls hair, or just scrolls on social media for hours on end with no real intent, or spends a lot of spare time drinking the night away. However, the good news is that these habits don’t have to stay that way. Of course, there is some work to do, because you need to teach yourself new ways of doing things and teach yourself some healthier habits at those stressed or bored times.
You could start thinking about why you have certain habits in the first place. Is there a particular belief or a reason why you have a certain habit? Do you use something as a crutch because you know that you can and you’re in denial, often looking for excuses or justifications, knowing that you can use synthetic urine to pass a test with, for instance? Or is there a certain belief that limits you that you can’t get past, because of previous experience or trauma? We can often hurt ourselves with bad habits because we don’t think we’re capable of anything else or that it is what we deserve. If you’re able to recognize the reasons for your bad habits then it will be a really vital part that helps you overcome them.
Replacing bad habits
Whether we have good or bad habits, they are in our lives for a reason. That is why it can be hard to just stop a habit completely and not have anything in its place. Some of our bad habits can feel like they are benefiting us. For example a smoking habit can be a stress reliever when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Tapping your feet or twisting hair can be something that relieves nerves. That is why you often can’t just stop them. Instead, you need to look to replace your bad habits with one that is new but still has the same kind of benefit to you.
With the smoking example, if you feel better from it when you are stressed, you could also feel better when you are stressed when you exercise or take a boxing class. You get the same stress relief benefit, but by doing something that is going to be much better for you. If you simply stop doing a bad habit, then it can often not really work for you and you can slip back into bad habits again, because you miss that ‘benefit’ that it gives you. So when it comes to stopping bad habits, make sure that you replace them with something else instead.
How to break a bad habit
If you are looking for some ways to quit your bad habit, then you need to think about how you do it in a different way. If you’ve not had much luck before with breaking bad habits, then try these things instead.
- Choose a substitute for the bad habit: this has been addressed a little already, but it just shows how much of a difference it can make to a bad habit when you find something else to replace it with. When you get the urge to do your bad habit, what can you do instead? Whatever your habit is and however you are choosing to deal with it, make sure that you have a plan for what you are going to do with your bad habit instead.
- Cut out triggers: if you are someone who smokes then it is quite easy to know that you should just avoid situations like going to a bar, where you’re much more likely to smoke. That can be an obvious trigger. If you eat too much junk food when you’re bored, then not having junk food in the house will help with that. Think about the triggers that you have that lead to your bad habits, and then you can find a way to cut those triggers out. The environment that you are in can play a big part in your habits. If you change the environment then you will change what happens with the habits.
- Visualize yourself being a success in kicking your habit: You could imagine yourself throwing out a pack of cigarettes or eating and buying foods that you know are going to be much better for you. Imagine yourself getting up early and having a productive day, and it will be the motivator to help you to get there.
You do have to rethink your habits and look at what the cause and triggers are if you want to break them. With a little work and effort you can make such a big difference.