Let’s be real.
We all have bad habits that we are not proud of or happy about. Right?
I certainly do.
Giving in to junk food cravings instead of snacking on healthier options, for instance.
Or grabbing a glass of wine or two, when I’m feeling blue.
Let’s face it: most of us are burdened with a few bad habits that we really need to break–for the sake of our health, relationships or quality of life.
So ask yourself:
What are your “most-disturbing” bad habits?
Which bad habits do you desperately want to kick?
Which one of those habits do you want to break first?
Are you really serious about kicking that habit?
If your answer is “Yes”…
How are you going to do it?
Just wishing away a bad habit is certainly not going to make it magically disappear.
While being aware of it is the first step, it is still only the beginning.
Having the desire to end a bad habit such as smoking is another great place to start,
however, carefully-thought-out action plans are necessary in order to end most habits once and for all.
And in the final analysis, execution is key!
“A change in bad habits
leads to a change in life.”
Thank goodness I don’t smoke or pig out on parfaits and pastries, but…
If you are serious about kicking bad habits,
give these steps a try:
#1: Start from Consciousness
When the realization hits that a bad habit has taken root–deep root–into your life, and that you are
no longer in control of it, the most important step is to be aware of that fact.
When you are conscious of the fact that you are literally “submissive” to this bad
habit–and not in control–you have taken a very important first step.
In the beginning, it is likely that you will find yourself ignoring that bad habit, and
even making every excuse in the book not to be aware of that habit.
Once you “start from consciousness”, you will open up a new awareness.
This is a habit, and although it may be difficult at first, it can be brought under control.
#2: Embrace the Role the Bad Habit Had in Your Life
By embracing the role of your bad habit and the part it played in your life, you allow the negative
connotations of that bad habit to drift away.
Sometimes a few glasses of wine every night help you to get through a painful experience.
Or perhaps smoking is your way of relieving tension.
By embracing the role the bad habit played in your life, you allow yourself to move on to the next step
– releasing it.
#3: Acknowledge that this Habit is No Longer Necessary
By acknowledging that a bad habit is no longer a necessary part of your being, you
will be better able to release it and move forward.
Realize that maybe this bad habit served a purpose for a short time and now
that purpose is no longer necessary.
Do not hold onto a bad habit longer than it is necessary
#4. Make a Conscious Effort to Alter your Environment
If you’re addicted to unhealthy food, for example, you may need to get all of the junk food
out of your house and make a commitment to never purchase it again.
Clean out your refrigerator and cabinets. Replace unhealthy foods with healthier choices
like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Certain environments are breeding grounds for bad habits and behaviors. So alter the
environment to kickstart better habits.
If you’re in a negative relationship, for example, you may want to create an environment
that doesn’t include that person.
You must consciously change your environment to start down the road toward kicking that habit!
#5: Set Smaller Goals that Lead to the Big One
When you start your plan of action, it is important not to just list something like
“I want to quit smoking,” or “I want to stop eating donuts with my coffee every day”.
It’s much better to start with smaller goals such as “I will smoke two less cigarettes per day,
” or “I will look into clinically proven methods for quitting smoking.”
For most individuals, going cold turkey on any goal leads to failure and
a return to the bad habit we had in the first place.
#6: Create an Action Plan
Now it is time to take action.
It’s best to create a written plan to ensure your that changes are permanent.
By putting an effective plan of action in motion, you will be able to see
where you are at and where you want to be.
Refer to your plan often and make adjustments as needed.
Following a clear plan of action with a specific goal in mind, will help
tremendously as you strive to kick those habits.
“Most people don’t have that willingness to break bad habits.
They have a lot of excuses and they talk like victims.”
#7: Have an Accountability Partner
Having someone be your accountability partner is worth its weight in gold.
Have a trusted and committed friend check up on your progress daily, if necessary.
When you have not kept your word or reached your daily goal,
having someone to answer to may be just the incentive you need to move forward.
#8: Surround Yourself with Role Models
Although support groups are incredibly therapeutic, it may be just as valuable to surround
yourself with friends and colleagues who are already what you want to become.
Limit your time with people who aren’t what you want to become
(e.g. If you want to quit smoking, you can’t hang around smokers all day).
Some habits may require you to change the places you frequent, the people you
spend time with, and the activities in which you participate.
#9: Track Your Progress
You will be amazed on how the littlest step can be the most propelling one.
Keeping notes on your progress and looking at them every day to see where you began
and how you are progressing closer and closer to your goal–is an amazing way to stay motivated.
#10: Seek the Help of Professionals
Do not hesitate to seek the help of a professional in the area you are seeking to control.
Sometimes an addictive personality or a chemical imbalance is the root cause of your addiction
or habit in the first place.
Often a wellness or holistic health professional, an eating disorder specialist, nutritionist, hypnotherapist
or other alternative health professional may provide the guidance you need.
Seek referrals from trusted friends and research him or her thoroughly.
#11: Join a Support Group
There is a reason why Weight Watchers, Alcoholics Anonymous, church-based
support circles and other support groups work so well.
Joining a moderated support group of like-minded individuals who suffer from the same
challenges and habits as you,can be a very effective tactic.
Working through issues and solving problems with people who share similar hard-to-kick habits,
can be incredibly comforting and therapeutic.
#12: Never Give Up
The harder it gets, the more you must continue to strive.
Do not quit under any circumstances.
Pull out all the stops, contact your accountability partner, look at your progress notes
to see how far you have come and how close you are to reaching your goal–
and devise a major reward for yourself that outweighs the difficulty of kicking
the bad habit in the first place.
Never let your chain break.
#13. Inspire Someone Else
Find comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
Anyone and everyone you ask has one bad habit or another.
Know that you are not alone and just think – maybe you can inspire someone
else to kick a bad habit with you as his or her role model.
Share your new habits with friends and family to help them kick bad habits too!
How amazing would that be?
“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains
after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”
#14. Use Affirmations to Break Bad Habits
According to the change experts at wethechange.com:
If you affirm negative statements over and over again they will
become more prominent in your life.
(Similarly, if you affirm positive statements,
they too will become more prominent in your life.)
That’s why it is so important to choose your words wisely,
and make sure they really vibe with you.
Here are some tips to create effective and life changing affirmations:
1. Make the statements concise yet clear.
2. Always state them in the present tense (e.g. do not affirm “I am going to quit smoking”
because that implies the future and levies current responsibility).
3. Always state them in the positive.
4. Write them down on note cards first, and make sure you are really comfortable
with the words you are choosing.
5. Be emotionless—remember you don’t even need to believe in the words
you are saying for affirmations to work.
6. Do them every day, no matter how you feel, stick with it!
*Write 3 statements that apply to your life, that you would like to come true.
*Every morning as you get ready for your day, spend ten minutes saying these statements out loud.
*Try your best to crowd out negative thoughts and focus 100% of your attention on your language.
*Really listen to your voice as you speak, and be as emotionless about saying them as possible!
Do you have bad habits you are trying to break? Please share your suggestions for kicking bad habits with us.