Five Great Ideas on How to Break Bad Habits

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how to break bad habits

We all have them. Some are merely annoying, while others are downright damaging. Bad habits can develop over time, almost without you even noticing. The human brain is most comfortable doing things it has done before – for better or worse. In order to eliminate a bad habit, we need to change the way our brain works as it relates to that specific activity. Consider the following five ideas on how to break your bad habits.

– Find a Replacement. Even bad habits serve the purpose of occupying time during your day. When to try to just stop cold, you will find yourself with a void in that time where you used to engage in the habitual activity. During that time, you will inevitably be thinking about the habit, and be drawn back to it. A more successful approach is to choose a new activity with which to fill that time. Say you are trying to quit smoking, and your 10 minute break at work is the hardest time for you to get through. Maybe you could download a game for your phone to play during that ten minutes, or schedule a chat with a friend that can distract you from the urge to smoke. As time passes, you will naturally begin to associate that break time with activities other than smoking.

– Buy Some Responsibility. This one could get expensive, but it can be effective as well. If you are trying to break a particularly strong habit, enlist the help of a trusted friend. Give them a significant amount of money ($100 is good) and ask them to only give it back to you when you have avoided your habit for a predetermined amount of time. For instance, you could give them $100 at the start of a month, only to be returned at the end of the month if you have not smoked any cigarettes. Putting a financial motivation on the line might just be the mental trigger you need to overcome the cravings.

– One at a Time. If you happen to have two or three bad habits you would like to break, don’t take them all on at once. Your brain will need to focus on a specific goal and draw on your willpower to defeat the first obstacle. After you feel freed of that habit, you can move on to the next one motivated by your success.

– Find Online Support. Support groups on the internet can be great because they are somewhat anonymous, yet give you a sense of responsibility to the group. Search the web for people trying to break the same habit as you. Join the group and tell your story. You are sure to be supported and receive some great advice. After you break your habit, consider sticking around the group to support others. You will feel good about providing your experiences to others, and the ongoing participation will prevent you from sliding back into that habit.

– Meditate. What seems like too simple of an answer just may be all you need. By spending time in daily meditation, you will be able to clear your brain and see your life as a whole from a new perspective. Often habits grow from insecurities in other parts of our lives. A good meditation session breaks down those walls and lets you see what you like about your life, and what you don’t. You may find the habit itself isn’t really the root problem at all – and by fixing what is causing your compulsive actions, the habit could end up fading away naturally.


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