Six Ways to Get Rid of Your Bad Habits

A bad habit is a behavior people tend to repeat even though it brings frustration and dissatisfaction. It might be something you have performed over the years or a new attitude that you redo. Even though it might seem hard to change it, persistence and motivation could lead you to positive lifestyle change. Here are the tips to help…

1 Identify the underlying cause: All habits have a function. For instance, the habit of walking to work in the morning makes you feel refreshed and ready for work duties. Similar to that the habit of mindless eating could be a way to fight loneliness. It might not be easy to identify the underlying cause, but it is really worth trying to do so, since finding the root of the problem is the first step towards its solution.

2 Keep notes: Take a pen and paper and start observing your behaviors relevant to the habit. When and where it happens, if there is anything that triggers it and how often it occurs. Write these down and track your behavior for a week. At the end of that week, you may be able to identify behavioral patterns and connections between stimuli and behaviors.

3 Replace it with a new positive habit: For example, if you feel that you are having too many sweets, try to eat a fruit next time you get a sugar craving. This will satisfy the need for something sweet but in a much healthier way. Furthermore, if you persist your neurons will learn this new pathway and gradually it will be easier for you to adopt it.

4 Get support: It might be your partner, your friend, your family, a colleague or a coach. Whoever you trust and feel comfortable with. This person could help you monitor your progress, assist you in being accountable, reward you and talk you through the difficulties you might face.

5 It does not take only 21 days to change a habit: It sounds so attractive and so easy to apply. Habits that have developed over years disappear magically only in 21 days? The society we live in demands fast pace, but the truth is that this could not be applied in everything. An average of 3 months’ time is a more realistic timeframe to form a new habit, so be patient. Change also relies on several factors such as personality, readiness to change, support, stress levels etc.

6 Reward every progress you make: This will help you enhance your new behaviors with positive feelings. Even though change is hard, once it is reinforced with little rewards it gives you the strength and motivation to carry on. Rewards need to be there even for the small steps forward not only when you reach long term goals.

(Written by: Christie Miliordou, ICF Certified health/life coach at Health Coaching For You)