Whether you want to admit it or not, most of us have a bad habit or two that we would love to quit doing, but have been unable to. These habits range from simply biting your nails, to harmful habits like gambling, smoking, or excessive drinking. The problem people face when it comes to quitting these bad habits, is the fact that they have done them for so long, and in some cases, they are addicted to these bad habits, which makes it much harder to stop, despite their best efforts.
Just because these habits can be difficult to break, doesn’t mean that they are impossible. Most people tend to give up on quitting their bad habits after being unsuccessful when they tried in the past, one of the reasons they failed to break the habits is because they decided to do it by themselves and go “cold turkey.” This is not a very effective method, because it can lead to the person picking up another bad habit to substitute for the one that they stopped.
No matter how small you feel your bad habit is, or how long you have been doing it, there are a few simple steps that you can take to make sure that you stop them for good this time around. Here is a quick look at those steps.
Make A Conscious Note of Your Habit
You would be surprised that a lot of people aren’t conscious of some of their bad habits, some examples of those are people who crack their knuckles or constantly clear their throats. Others, like people who have an addiction to gambling, smoking, or drinking, have a hard time admitting that they have a problem. The most important step when you really want to break a bad habit, is to acknowledge the habit, and fully commit to changing it.
Establish A Goal
If you are serious about ending a bad habit, you should set a realistic goal for yourself. If you plan to quit a habit in 30 days, you can set goals for every week, keep track of your progress, and try to achieve them. This will make quitting the habit less overwhelming, and will help you get the result you want at the end of the 30 days.
As previously mentioned with the “cold turkey” approach that people take, that strategy makes it harder to quit, because you are trying to do it all at once. If you have multiple bad habits that you are trying to quit, don’t attempt to quit them all at once, because it will eventually drive you crazy, and back to the bad habit. You should take small steps to ensure you eventually quit the habit. If you drink a certain amount of coffee every day, you should cut it down by at least half, or if you are trying to stop smoking, you are better off using a patch or electronic cigarette to gradually wean yourself off cigarettes.
A lot of people feel that they can quit their habits by themselves, and are reluctant to get help. This is a terrible approach to trying to quit, because you can always benefit from the experience of others who have been through what you are currently trying to do. You can also find someone who is trying to quit the same habit as you are, and create a support system for each other, which is something a lot of people have had success with.
Find New Habits
One of the best ways to stop yourself from going back to your old habits is by picking up new positive habits. An example of this is if your old habit was triggered by anger or frustration, you can pick up a habit that will let you get rid of those emotions, like a sport, or meditation, depending on which works better for you.
Reward Your Efforts
Quitting a habit is hard enough as it is, so it is always a good idea to give yourself some sort of reward for achieving each goal that you set for yourself. This also serves as a motivational tool to keep it going.
If you have ever tried to quit a bad habit before, you know that it isn’t easy, and the truth of the matter is that you will likely find yourself going back to the old habit at one point. If this happens to you, don’t be discouraged, just consider it a one-time slip, and keep moving forward with your plan.