Bad habits entail more than just smoking, over-drinking, and eating out all the time. Blow drying your hair at a scorching high temperature is a bad habit. Ignoring your family when they call is a bad habit. Biting your nails is a bad habit. Letting your coworkers boss you around all day is a bad habit.
The list goes on and on. But changing these habits is easier than most people believe.
Why are these habits present in the first place?
Bad habits don’t just appear overnight. They take time to develop and that time is in our control. There are three components to every habit. The trigger, the response, and the reward.
Every time you check your social media when you are in a public place or go and get a bowl of ice cream from the freezer you are responding to a specific trigger. As you respond to this trigger, in the same way, every time it is present, a habit begins to form.
Biting your nails is usually a behavior triggered by stress. Waking up every day in the late afternoon is usually behavior associated with avoiding responsibility. Eating ice cream after a long day is, well, acceptable.
Read more about how bad habits are formed with this link:
So how can you hack your bad habits and create positive ones?
1. Become aware of your bad habit.
The first step in the journey to breaking bad habits is to identify what exactly that habit is and how it affects your day-to-day life. Ensuring that you are aware of what your habit is and what damage it is doing to your well-being is the first step.
For example, if someone is trying to quit smoking it is often because they want to improve their health. Once the person realizes the damage that smoking is causing to their health, every time they go out to smoke, they think about that negative result of their actions.
When you become aware of your bad habit and how it affects your life, you begin to pay more attention to the habit itself and everything that it entails.
Information about awareness of your bad habits:
2. Identify why you began that habit in the first place.
Once a bad habit develops, most people don’t even take a second to think about why they are doing that behavior in the first place. These actions become so regular that our body goes on autopilot and much of our day becomes unintentional.
Reflect on the real reasons that you began that habit. Was it to look cool? Was it to avoid stress? Was it to cope with stress? Was it to improve your mood? Was it because you felt you didn’t have any other choice at the time?
Take time to inspect all areas of why you started engaging in your bad habit and really dig deep.
Information about bad habit triggers:
3. Manipulate your external and internal environment.
After identifying the reasons why you created a habit in the first place, you must manipulate not just your external environment, but your internal self as well.
People who overeat will often throw out all the junk food from their cabinets, smokers will throw out their carton of cigarettes, but not every bad habit can be changed by removing external triggers.
Many people’s bad habits are a result of deeper emotion connected to their trigger that can’t necessarily be fixed through a simple external change. Adjusting to that deeper meaning by approaching the situation with a different mindset than your bad habit created before will work wonders. But, to do this, you must open your mind and have the desire to change.
Read more about breaking your bad habits here:
All bad habits can be subjective, but it is important to sit down and reflect on the behaviors you have created in your everyday life. Ask yourself “Why do I do this? Is it benefiting my quality of life and mental well-being?” If that habit is not benefiting your well-being, then it is important to take steps to break it.
Change is not everyone’s cup of tea and it takes time to get used to. I certainly have developed bad habits in my life and still have many that I am working on. In the end, your actions are your choice, and breaking bad habits takes patience and discipline, but anyone can take themselves where they want to go if they simply grab the wheel.