How To Break Bad Habits
Since I started Those Positive Thoughts over a year ago I’ve had to swap some bad habits for some healthy ones. The main habit being to wake up earlier.
As I’m working full-time, trying to keep a social life, wanting to spend time with my boyfriend, renovating my home and I’m very passionate to grow my blog, I’ve had to find more hours in the day, and the best time to do that was to wake up earlier and finally stop snoozing!
However, snoozing and waking up late were both very bad habits of mine. I could sometimes snooze for a full hour, to the point where I was rushing out the door with no time. It was stressful, I was tired and I felt unhappy because I didn’t have any time to focus on my blog.
It took time and hard work to get used to my new habit, but after using the right tactics I’ve managed to become an early bird and and make time for the things I love (blogging) before heading to work.
With this one new habit, I’ve managed to make time in the evenings to exercise and to spend time with my boyfriend. I have time at the weekends to see my friends and family. By creating one focus habit, its had a positive knock-on effect in my life and created even more Happy Habits. Such as going to bed earlier, creating a morning routine and being more organised!
Before we dive into how to quit bad habits, I’ll first start by explaining what habits are exactly and why they matter.
What are habits?
Habits, some are positive and guide us towards a happy and fulfilling life, while others are bad and hold us back from reaching our full potential. We can carry out our habits without using too much brain power as they’re performed automatically allowing us to do simple tasks by following the same routine every time.
By creating habits we free up space in our brain to perform more complex tasks such as solving problems at work or deciding what to cook for dinner. However, habits are so much more than the way we perform simple tasks. They‘re also the way we think and the self-beliefs that influence what we do and what we hold ourselves back from.
Why do habits matter?
Your habits matter as they play an essential role in your future success, they’re the key to who you are and the change you want to make. Think about what you want to achieve, what you want to change and what your dream life looks like. The results of these answers rely on your habits and that’s why it’s crucial we quit any bad habits which are holding us back from future happiness.
And now that we’re all super clear on what habits are and why they matter, let’s look at how we can quit bad habits.
Identify your bad habits
You can’t change a habit until you identify what your habit is. A good way to do this is to simply write down and brainstorm your habits, both the good and the bad. The following things may help you identify your habits:
- Your morning routine
- Your evening routine
- Your exercise regime
- Your relationship with food
- How often you drink water/coffee/alcohol/sugary drinks
- Your relationship with your family, friends and colleagues
Why do you want to quit this habit
I recommend writing down the reason why you actually want to quit this habit and then use this reason to keep you going strong. When I decided to quit snoozing my alarm the reason behind this was so I had time everyday to work on my blog, which was a huge reason and enough to keep me going.
What causes this habit?
Think about the habits which you would like to change or remove from your life. What are the triggers which prompt these habits? Every time you have the urge to repeat your bad habit, ask yourself questions such as, where am I? What time is it? How am I feeling? Who am I with? What did I just do or what am I doing? By consistently doing this you will soon discover the trigger behind your habit.
Change the reward
Experiment with different rewards. For example if between 3-4 PM every working day you get up from your desk, go to the kitchen and have a cookie, try having a healthy yogurt instead, or making a cup of tea, or going to speak to a colleague. In this example you might discover that it’s not the cookie which your’e craving but the need for a break and to step away from your desk.
Change your routine
Once you’ve identified your habit patterns, you can look for ways to replace any bad habit by knowing where and when the trigger will cue the habit, and then plan for different/healthier routines and rewards.
I highly recommend telling someone which habit you’re giving up or which habit you’re developing. I’ve found by telling my boyfriend my new habit I’m more likely to actually stick to it. Otherwise I feel like a bit of a failure if I don’t stick to my new habit or if I give in and go back to my old bad habits.