We tend to spend too much time on habits that don’t benefit us. Some of us eat too much junk food, smoke a lot, or spend hours on the Internet. If we want to have a better life, we need to do something about it. Here are 5 ways to say goodbye to bad habits.
Pick the habit you want to break and start planning
Focus on one habit at a time. Have a specific start date and end date. Try giving yourself 30 days to break the habit, keep a journal and write down your progress. If you failed to reach your target, keep a record of that too. It’s important to have an end-goal if you want it to work. It could be cutting down to 2 cigarettes a day, limiting yourself to 1 hour of social media, or rewarding yourself with junk food only twice a week. Be clear about your goal and start from there.
Break your goals into pieces
You don’t have to go cold turkey to reach your goal. You can do it gradually for better results. Try setting a weekly target. For example, it could be 15 cigarettes a day for the first week if you’re a heavy smoker. Followed by 10 cigarettes a day and so on. You can also identify how much time you usually spend on a habit and reduce the hours week by week. It could also be reducing your chocolate intake from 5 to 3 times a week. Your target basically depends on your existing habit.
Identify the triggers
Keep track of the triggers that lead you to the habit. Where you were, the exact time you felt the urge, your mood, the people around you, and what you were doing. Once you are aware of the triggers, you will be able to make the changes you need to break your habit. For example, if you resort to cigarettes when you feel stressed at work, try talking to a colleague or find a quiet space where you can clear your mind instead. If you want to stop drinking and usually meet your friends at a bar, try going to a café.
If you reach your target, reward yourself with something healthy or positive. Go to the movies with a friend. Get a massage. Have lunch at a new restaurant with your loved one. Play golf with your buddies. Enjoy a yoga retreat with your best friends. Just be sure not to repeat your bad habit as a way to reward yourself and avoid the triggers.
Get a support system
Plans work best when you make it public. Don’t be shy to tell your family and friends about your goal. It will not only motivate you to reach your target, but it will also give you more pressure because you might feel embarrassed if you end up not doing anything about it. Your loved ones will also be able to help check on your progress and give you words of encouragement.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle