It’s no secret that bad habits are one of the biggest things that prevent you from achieving the goals you have set for yourself. Depending on the habit, they can affect your physical and mental health, as well as waste your money, time and energy and leave you feeling frustrated.
The good news is that you can break them. In this article we’ll discuss how…
Firstly, what causes bad habits?
Recognising the causes of your bad habits is essential in order to overcome them. Majority of the time, bad habits are created as a response to boredom and stress. However sometimes they may be caused by a deeper problem such as fear or a limiting belief. We know it can be challenging when thinking about these things but identifying the root cause is necessary to combat them for good!
Examples of bad habits that may be holding you back from achieving your goals:
- Consuming excessive comfort foods
- Excessive alcohol consumption or drug use
- Overspending on shopping sprees for things you don’t really need
- Staying in a toxic relationship
- Allowing yourself to be surrounded by toxic friendships
- Excessive screen time (social media, streaming services, tv, work emails out of work hours etc)
How do you break up with a bad habit?
Step 1: Identify the bad habits in your life that you want to break up with
Make a list! Did any of the things we listed previously resonate with you? Anything that isn’t serving you or you feel like is holding you back from achieving your goals or being the person you want to be should be added to your list.
Step 2: Track these habits
Track the habits you’ve identified over the next couple of days and ask yourself the following questions when it comes to each habit you want to break:
- When does your bad habit actually happen?
- How many times do you do it each day?
- Where are you?
- Who are you with?
- What triggers the behaviour and causes it to start?
Step 3: Choose a method to break up with the habit
There are a few strategies to help make breaking habits easier. We’ll discuss some options below:
- Choose a replacement behaviour for your bad habit – you’ll need a replacement behaviour ready to go for next time you are faced with your bad habit. Eg. When you get the urge to reach for comfort foods when you are stressed, you can choose to call a friend or go for a walk (replacement behaviour).
- Optimise your environment – Change your environment to make bad habits harder. Eg. don’t buy specific foods if you know they are a trigger for you to over-consume.
- Join forces with someone – having an accountability buddy can help you feel more supported on your journey and help motivate you when you are struggling.
- Surround yourself with people who live the way you want to live – you don’t need to ditch your friends but finding some new friends that have similar goals to you will help increase your chance of success.
- Visualise yourself succeeding – lean into how this makes you feel!
- Overcome negative self talk – use the word ‘but’ to finish the sentence next time that negative self talk creeps in. Eg. “I feel like I will never lose this weight, but I could reach my fat loss goal in a few months from now if I start today.”
Lastly, be prepared to fail. It takes time and repetition to break up with a bad habit for good so be kind to yourself during this time!
Further reading if interested: We’d highly recommend reading the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. He goes much more in depth about hacking your habits in order to set yourself up for success in all areas of your life!