Habits play an important role in our daily life. It can determine our success in life. Some habits are bad. They do not help us get ahead in our life. So, I decided to find out what are the bad habits and how to break them apart.
Breaking bad habits:
- Identify the trigger of your bad habits
- Reframe your bad habits
- Take small steps
- Replace your bad habits
I found a few important facts about bad habits that you might want to know. These facts will help to adjust your expectations when breaking your bad habits.
With these facts in mind, we are ready to break any bad habits. For each of the above breaking bad habits idea, I will be explaining how to use them.
At the end of the article is a list of bad habits. You can use the list to help you identify your bad habits. So, after reading this article, you will have identified your bad habits (if any) and learn how to break them apart.
Breaking Bad Habits – Facts
You might not know these facts about bad habits. But, knowing them can help you to break your bad habits within reasonable expectations.
Bad Habits Are Difficult To Break
Have you wonder why it is so difficult for someone to quit smoking cigarette? Even though the person smoking cigarette knows that it is a bad habit. This is because habits are deep-rooted in our brain.
The region that controls our habit lies deep inside our brain. It is deeply engraved in our brain because of habit’s importance.
Imagine in the hunter gathering past of humanity, we will need to respond consistently and rapidly to impending threats. The threat might come from a lion. The hunter gatherer will need to choose the appropriate response to survive. This is where habit comes into the picture.
The habit of responding to the threat for the hunter gatherer must be deeply ingrained in the mind. That will ensure the proper response will happen quickly, even without conscious thought, and the hunter gatherer will more likely survive the encounter with the threat.
In a similar fashion, our modern mind has not changed much since the hunter gathering time. We still develop habits to let us respond quickly with consistency. However, the habits we developed in modern life are not always good or essential for survival. And, we might want to alter the less desirable habits.
Because habit is biologically programmed to be deeply engrained in our brain, it is difficult to break it. It will require a great deal of effort and knowledge of the habit to change or remove it.
The difficulty will be much more when dealing with bad habits. You will have realized that most of your bad habits are developed un-intentionally. They are not planned habits. But these bad habits exist because of some reasons.
In the example of smoking cigarette, the habit’s reason for existing might be a pleasurable psychological sensation. And, the development of this habit was to gain the pleasurable experience. The mere allure of the pleasure experience will make it ever more difficult to break the habit.
For other bad habits, the likely scenario of an overwhelming reason for their existence are strong, as well. You will face more difficulty to break bad habits than regular less powerful habits.
Bad Habits Can Be Part Of One’s Personality
Not all bad habits are obvious as smoking cigarette. There are bad habits that are personality based. These bad habits will be difficult to self-identify. They are usually identified by others around the person.
For example, dishonesty and lying are bad habits of personality type. To break these bad habits, the individual will need to be highly self-conscious or require a friend to point them out. Changing the personality typed bad habits is trickier. This is because they tend to have multiple triggering factors.
The act of being dishonest or lying can happen in many different situations. That makes identifying or breaking the onset of the bad habit difficult.
Breaking Bad Habits – Solution
Here, I will be sharing the most useful solutions for breaking bad habits that I have found.
Identify the trigger of your bad habits
If you are unsure about what is a trigger, you can read this article here that explains the components of a habit.
When dealing with any bad habits, you must first identify the trigger. It can be the environment, situation, psychological, or people that trigger your bad habit. You will need to know specifically the trigger. This will let you develop a plan to break your bad habit before it even happens.
Breaking a bad habit at the trigger stage is definitely the easiest and quickest way. You will just need to prevent or avoid the trigger. Thereby, your bad habit will not be initiated, as there is no trigger to start the bad habit.
While the simplest approach to break a bad habit, it might not be easy to implement for all bad habits. It will be easy for bad habits’ trigger associated with environment and people. The situational and psychological based trigger might pose more of a challenge.
Situational and psychological based trigger are hard to predict in advance or avoid. You will need a high amount of consciousness to pick up these triggers.
When you sensed that the bad habit is going to be triggered, you can try to redirect it to a different routine. (Read about a habit’s routine here)
Identifying the triggers of your bad habits, and avoiding them, are definitely the easiest approach to break bad habits. However, if this simple approach is inadequate, you might need to use other solutions below.
Reframe your bad habits
The solution of reframing your bad habits involves the habit’s outcome. (Read about a habit’s outcome here)
Your goal when you reframe your bad habits is to alter the perceived outcome from a positive one to a negative one. For example, the outcome of smoking cigarette is the pleasant sensation you feel, but you will want to reframe this feeling to a negative outcome, such as bad breath.
By reframing your bad habits, you are trying to dissuade yourself from the bad habits.
Take small steps
Some bad habits can be massive. They can involve a long routine. You will want to focus on one aspect of the bad habit’s routine first. Then the next aspect of the bad habit, and so on.
For example, you want to quit the bad habit of smoking cigarette. By dividing the bad habit’s routine, you realize you can stop the habit by smoking half of the cigarette first. Then after you managed to consistency smoke half the cigarette, now you try to smoke even lesser. This goes on until you finally stop smoking altogether.
Through taking small steps to break a bad habit you can make it easier to follow and reach your goal.
Replace your bad habits
Instead of responding to your bad habits’ trigger in by following the bad habits’ routine, you switch the bad habits’ routine to something else. That means, you are effectively changing your bad habits into neutral or positive habits.
Replacing your bad habits happen at the routine stage of a habit. For example, you can replace the cigarette of your smoking habit into a chewing gum instead. This changed smoking routine helps to neutralize the bad habit.
This solution of breaking bad habits is very useful if the habit’s trigger is difficult to prevent or avoid.
Examples Of Bad Habits
Bad habits can infiltrate our life without us even realizing them. Here is a list of the most common bad habits. You might want to take the time to read through the list, and identify if you engage in any of these bad habits.
- Picking your nose
- Smoking cigarettes
- Hair picking
- Excessive alcoholic drinking
- Emotional shopping
- Excessive credit card spending
- Biting your nails
- Biting your pen
- Talking in class
- Spending too much time on social media
If you find any bad habits, you can use the solutions provided above to break them.
How long does it take to break a habit? It might take 21 days, less or more, depending on the habit you want to break. A study of 96 volunteers showed it can vary from 18 to 254 days to break a habit.
How do you know you have a bad habit? You can identify a bad habit with these general signs:
- It causes you to be unproductive
- It is negatively impacting your health
- People are unhappy with you