Habits die hard. Ask someone who has tried to quit smoking and they will tell you, John Mc’lane doesn’t hold a candle to bad habits when it comes to dying hard!
Still, as hard as the process may be, it is possible, with consistent efforts, to rid yourself of a bad habit. Whether the habit is potentially life threatening like smoking or eating too much junk food or a mildly annoying like biting your nails or being hooked on Facebook, if you put your mind to it, it can be overcome.
You will need to follow a plan though and do a fair bit of introspection if you want to have any hope of succeeding.
The following 8 steps will help you understand and plan how you can begin the process of change and ultimately succeed in breaking free from a negative habit.
- Accept The Need For the Change
Change comes only after acceptance. Before you can begin treading the path to change you must acknowledge the need for that change.
Lasting change stems from a marrow deep realization that this habit is harming your life. You must resolve to not let it go on any longer. This realization will give you the drive to follow through with the challenging process of change.
- Try and Understand the Bad Habit
The next step is to try and understand the causes and triggers of your habit.
As is true struggle in any struggle, you must understand your opponent before you can defeat him.
Bad habits persist because they provide some form of physical or emotional gratification. Recognize that this temporary gratification is causing you harm in the long run.
- Dissociate From Triggers and Causes
Isolate yourself from things or situations that trigger the habit you are trying to lose. If having a drink leads to smoking, then try laying off the liquor.
Try to be aware of the situations and emotional states that cause you to indulge in the bad habit. Recognize the patterns in behavior that you must disrupt in order to weaken the temptation of regressing back to old patterns.
- Perspective matters
It is important to begin with a positive state of mind. It helps if you try to replace the bad habit with a good habit that you have always aspired to.
Running towards a goal while running away from the bad habit will motivate you further. It will give you the incentive to keep going on a bad day.
Associate with people who have cultivated the habit you wish to adopt. It will act as a positive and encouraging influence on your mindset.
- Make A Plan and Follow Through
Make a concrete plan and put it in writing. Set up small goals and milestones in the beginning. Once you have made a strategy to overcome the bad habit, stick with it perseveringly.
Lasting change comes through persistent progress. Some days you may progress by leaps and bounds and some days by mere inches. But the important thing is that you must keep moving forward.
- Leave Room for Mistakes
Allow room in your plan for mistakes. A plan with no room for mistakes will be discarded the first time you slip up.
Once in a while the temptation might prove too much and you might slip back into old habits. That’s okay. Just don’t let the progress you have made go to waste by giving up. Forgive yourself and continue with the set plan and try your best not to repeat the mistake.
- Change Your Environment
Even small changes in your routine can help you break out of the perpetuating cycle of an undesirable habit. Disrupting old patterns gives you the opportunity to replace them with new ones.
A complete change of scenery, such as a vacation, provides a powerful opportunity to completely break off from the bad habit and instead adopt a better habit in its place.
- Reward Yourself
Don’t forget to reward yourself if you have stayed with the program and made progress. Each milestone on your list that you cross is one step further to a more fulfilling lifestyle. Every time you accomplish one of your milestones successfully, treat yourself to a reward for your consistent hard work.