Anyone who has had a bad habit knows that they can be extremely difficult to break. It doesn’t matter if the habit is detrimental to your health or one that is just annoying. For instance, I catch myself chewing on my lower lip when I’m frustrated. This is a habit that doesn’t cause anyone harm, but I find it very annoying. It has gotten less frequent over the years, thanks to many of the 9 tips to stop bad habits that I have listed below.
9 Keep Track of when the Habit Occurs
It’s hard to notice when a bad habit is rearing its ugly head. Once you start to notice it happening, try writing down on a piece of paper when it began to happen. Keeping a daily journal will enable you to see if there is a certain time of day that it starts up or if there are specific situations that cause it to occur. Sometimes making a mental note of when the bad habit starts isn’t enough. The visual aid that a journal provides is much stronger than a mental note that can easily be replaced with other thoughts.
8 Try an Alternative Behavior
Some bad habits can be replaced with alternative behaviors. An example would be when anger is an issue. I remember my mom being quite the yeller when I was a kid. She finally got to a stage in life where she started to close her eyes and take a few deep breaths before she spoke again. This technique seemed to work wonders for her yelling fits. She would still get angry, but her anger didn’t cause others to become distressed as well.
7 Acknowledge You Have a Bad Habit
There are people who don’t think they have a bad habit at all. If you are one of these individuals, then it might be a shock when you finally come to realize that you need to make some changes. Acknowledging that you have a habit that needs to be kicked is a huge step in getting rid of it. The longer a person is in denial about their behavior, the harder it will be to convince this person that it’s time to make some changes.
6 Avoid Situations That Trigger the Habit
When you’ve found out what situations cause the bad habit to either occur or become worse, then you can make an effort to avoid these situations. People who are trying to quit smoking find it easy to give in when they are around other smokers. Avoiding situations where people are smoking will help to reduce the urge to take part in the same type of behavior. You can keep an ongoing list of situations that trigger the bad habit and refresh your memory from time to time. This might be the best way to remember what to avoid.
5 Allow Some Indulgence
It’s hard to quit a bad habit cold turkey. There are times when a little indulgence in the bad habit needs to occur, in order to maintain a bit of sanity. Smoking is often one of the hardest habits to kick and is one that many cannot stop in a single day. Most smokers have to gradually wean themselves off of cigarettes. Allowing yourself to indulge in your bad habit from time to time shouldn’t cause a load of guilt. Just remind yourself that it will take time to change your bad habit.
4 Commit to Making a Change
Showing some commitment on your part to actually quit the bad habit will allow for others to see that you are serious about making a change. There may be physical changes you need to make right away, in order to stop the bad habit. Try to stick with your goal of making a change for the better. If you try hard to commit to this change, then eventually it will become easier and easier to do.
3 Find the Willpower to Kick the Bad Habit
Having the willpower to stop a particular habit can be one of the most difficult things to obtain. I can feel the urge to chew my lip when it begins, but sometimes it takes all my willpower to keep myself from giving in. I know this doesn’t seem like a tough habit to kick, but if I give in, the inside of my lip is sore for days. It can be easier to find the necessary willpower by getting support from friends and family.
2 Celebrate Any Progress You’ve Made
It shouldn’t matter how little your progress has been. Any amount should definitely be rewarded. You can go all out and have a big celebration or treat yourself to something you don’t normally have, such as going to the movie theater or buying a new CD. I’ve had friends that would do a little happy dance whenever they didn’t give in to urges. Trying to break a bad habit requires thinking of things that work for you.
1 Get outside Help
There are some habits that are nearly impossible for people to break. I have a friend who chewed her nails every day and finally went to a hypnotist to break the habit. This was the only way she was able to quit biting her nails. She had tried all the different ointments and nail coatings she could find, but nothing worked. Sometimes outside help is needed. This doesn’t always mean that a doctor is required. Getting help from friends and family members will often be the right amount of assistance to help someone quit their bad habit.
I think these 9 tips to stop bad habits will work for most people. Please feel free to share any tips you’ve tried or come across in the past. Was there anything that put a complete stop to your bad habit right away? Do you have any advice for others who might be trying to kick a habit? I’m sure most people will benefit from any tips you might offer.
Top Photo Credit: Juan Pablo Giusepponi
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