7 Tips For Breaking Bad Habits
Yesterday I talked about five habits you have developed over quarantine that we need to break. Today I’d like to highlight seven strategies you can implement in order to break these bad habits.
Bad habits need to be replaced – they can’t be eliminated. These seven “replacement” strategies come from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits.
1. Choose A Substitute
You need to have a plan ahead of time for how you will respond when you face the stress or boredom that prompts your bad habit.
What are you going to do when you get the urge to eat Oreos? (Example: grab an apple.)
What are you going to do when Instagram is calling to you to procrastinate? (Example: open up your email.)
Whatever it is and whatever you’re dealing with, you need to have a plan for what you will do instead of your bad habit.
2. Cut Out The Triggers
If you stay up late when you drink energy drinks in the afternoon, then don’t drink the energy drink.
If you eat cookies when they are in the house, then throw them all away.
If the first thing you do when you sit on the couch is pick up the TV remote, then hide the remote in a closet in a different room.
Make it easier on yourself to break bad habits by avoiding the things that cause them.
Right now, your environment makes your bad habits easier and your good habits harder. Change your environment and you can change the outcome.
3. Join Forces
How often do you try to diet in private?
We do this so no one will see us fail.
Instead, pair up with someone and diet together. The two of you can hold each other accountable and celebrate your victories together. Knowing that someone else expects you to be better is a powerful motivator.
4. Surround Yourself With Others
You don’t need to ditch your old friends, but don’t underestimate the power of finding some new ones.
Visualize yourself succeeding. See yourself working out every day, buying healthy food, or waking up early.
Whatever the bad habit is that you are looking to break, visualize yourself crushing it, smiling, and enjoying your success. See yourself building a new reality.
5. Returning To The Old You
In order to break bad habits, you don’t need to become an entirely new person. The truth is that you already have it in you to be someone without your bad habits.
In fact, it’s very unlikely that you had these bad habits all of your life.
You don’t need to transform into a healthy person, you just need to return to being healthy.
Even if it was years ago, you have already lived without this bad habit, which means you can most definitely do it again.
6. Use the Word “But”
One thing about battling bad habits is that it’s easy to judge yourself for not acting better. Every time you slip up or make a mistake, it’s easy to get down on yourself.
Whenever that happens, finish the sentence with “but”…
“I’m fat and out of shape, but I could be in shape a few months from now.”
“I’m stupid and nobody respects me, but I’m working to develop a valuable skill.”
“I’m a failure, but everybody fails sometimes.”
7. Plan For Failure
We all slip up every now and then.
Founder of NerdFitness, Steve Kamb says, “When you screw up, skip a workout, eat bad foods, or sleep in, it doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human. Welcome to the club.”
So rather than beating yourself up over a mistake, plan for it.
You’re going to get off track. what separates top performers from everyone else is that they get back on track very quickly.
I hesitated giving all seven strategies in one blog post because I wanted you to just implement one of them. So, instead of moving on with your normal life after reading this, take 30 seconds and make a plan to adopt one of these strategies. You’ll be happy you did it.
Remember that bad habits address certain needs in your life. In order to break them, we need to replace them with good habits that address the same need.
Good luck my friends. As you strive to break the five habits yesterday, I promise that you will be healthier and happier during quarantine.