We all have habits, things that we do routinely, almost as a second nature. However, have you ever wondered whether some of the things that you’ve been doing for so long are bad for you? If you know about your bad habits, why don’t you get rid of them?
People live with their bad habits because they haven’t realized how bad those habits are, it’s too hard to get rid of them or getting rid of them has not become enough of a priority… after all, we cannot be perfect, right? We are not perfect, but nothing prevents us from improving. Why should we let bad habits define us or drag us down?
Following are some self-improvement tips to get rid of your bad habits:
1) Study Your Bad Habits
Breaking a bad habit is not easy. Unless you truly understand the root of the problem, you won’t be able to devise a strategy to get rid of it. Take a cold hard look at your bad habit. Following are some questions you should seriously consider answering:
- When did you acquire the habit?
- Why is it that you have the habit? / How did you acquire the habit?
- What is the need that it fulfills?
- How bad do you want to get rid of the habit?
- How would you benefit from getting rid of the habit?
2) Prepare a Plan of Action
Now that you understand the problem, you can go to the next stage of finding a solution. There are many ways to get rid of bad habits. Be creative. It’s not enough to tell yourself that you should stop doing something. You have to understand that the battle to get rid of a bad habit is a battle that will oppose you against your own self. How do you win against yourself? The only way to win this battle is to have enough conviction to see things through and to be able to see beyond the tricks that your mind will play. You need to plan ahead and you need to set objective boundaries ahead of time. The moment you decide to get rid of a bad habit is the moment that you are the most objective. Use this moment of lucidity and resolve to your advantage to set the rules of the game. Keep to the rules. Don’t let your brain trick you into making excuses later on and revert back to your old self.
3) Understand the Need for Change
The only way to get rid of a bad habit is to have enough conviction to see things through. The foundation for your conviction resides in your understanding of the need for change. Unless there is a strong impetus for change, change will not happen, or will not last.
4) Be Specific
Being specific is about making sure you are accountable to yourself. For instance, telling yourself that you want to “eat healthier” is the path to failure. What does that mean? Does it mean that you get to eat junk food once in a while, as long as you eat a healthy meal to compensate? Giving yourself general goals is opening the door to excuses. The only way to avoid going down this path is to be clear on what you need to do or avoid doing. For instance, in keeping with the above example, if you tell yourself that you will drink tea in the morning instead of coffee or that you will eat at the restaurant only once a week (including take-out), you will be in position to keep yourself accountable. Draw a clear line that you will not cross.
5) Incorporate Reminders
The difficulty most people face when they want to change habits is that they lose motivation after a while. We all live busy lives. It’s easy to fall back onto our old habits, our old selves. A simple trick to fix this is to incorporate reminders in your daily life to keep you on track. A simple reminder, yet very effective, is to modify your email password (or other password) to add a reference to your resolution. Let’s say your resolution is to exercise twice a week for at least 30 minutes. Your email password could be “gym30mweekx2”. Every time you log into your email, you will be reminded of your resolution. The best part of this, nobody else needs to know.
You tried to get rid of your bad habit once already and it didn’t work. Don’t give up yet. Try again, but this time with more determination. See where you failed last time and avoid repeating the same mistakes. You will get there. Believe it.
by John Sylo