How to Break Free of Bad Habits
By Daniel Wittler
Bad habits are something that occurs subconsciously in ourselves. We have a way of doing things, the same way every time, because we just organically grew into that habit. In fact, you probably were not thinking about any bad habits you had until you saw this post about bad habits. Now however, you can probably think of a few off the top of your head. Terrible habits span from how we treat other people to how we treat ourselves to how we deal with conflict or issues in life, it’s all across the spectrum. What’s the hardest part about bad habits? Breaking them. Breaking a strong, long time habit can seem like an insurmountable task but I am here to give you hope, they can be broken. Let’s take a deeper dive into habits that we are not very fond of and how we can break them.
Break Down the Habit
The first thing to do is take a real honest look at whichever habit you would like to break. What usually triggers it to happen? Can those triggers be avoided or changed? We like to tell ourselves that just being aware about a bad habit and acknowledging it is a problem is enough to change it, but if it were that easy none of us would have any bad habits! We have these because they are deeply entrenched into our being and occur on auto pilot for the most part. There has to be some action in order to do something about it.
Look for Triggers
Bad habits have a certain ritual to them. For smokers they may always light up a smoke when they get in their car. People who overeat may only tend to do so when they indulge in certain foods. Whatever the case may be, find that trigger and if you are serious about changing your habits, avoid them like the plague!
Replace the Habit
Narrowing down a bad habit and looking at the cause is the easy part, once we pin point what needs to change, now it is time to replace the habit with something else. Tired of dirty laundry piling up in your bedroom often? Do the laundry twice a week rather than just once. Eat too much junk food on the weekends? Start your Saturday morning with a healthy trip to the grocery store for enough food for the weekend (this is one from my personal experience). This is obviously where the real work occurs, we have habits that are bad because they are ultimately beneficial to us. Whether it eases stress for us or makes life a little easier and allows us to be lazier, we gained these habits for some type of benefit. For every bad habit there is an alternate and opposite good habit to counteract it!
Finally, if you are serious about breaking a habit and replacing it you need to find some accountability. Find a good friend or even better someone that lives with you and make it clear what your intentions are and how they can help you! There is something about letting someone else know that makes the attempt at changing a little more valid. Allow whoever that person is to call you out if you are heading towards a trigger or getting back into the habit!
As I said before, bad habits are selfishly beneficial to us, that’s why we keep doing them and allowing them to happen. If we look at the big picture however, we can look at how eating healthier or quitting smoking is much more beneficial in the big picture. After reading this, narrow down just one habit you want to replace and start acting on it! Practice makes perfect.
Bio: Daniel Wittler is a writer in recovery from South Florida as well as an outreach coordinator at Stodzy Internet Marketing. He is passionate in sharing the message that absolutely anyone can get sober provided they are ready to change.