Bad habits have a profound negative effect on your life. But habits can be challenging to change since they aren’t based on thoughtful choices, so it’s difficult to try and use logic to change your behavior. Changing bad habits require a multi-faceted approach.
If you haven’t been able to shake your bad habits, try these tips to get you on the road to freedom:
1. Give the change process a month. In 30 days you can eliminate a bad habit and create a new, positive habit. Do your very best for a month. If you backslide after a month, it’s likely that your strategy is lacking.
2. Replace your bad habit with something positive. It’s almost impossible to just drop an ingrained havit and not replace what you’ve lost. So think about what benefit your bad habit gives you and find a replacement that provides the same benefit. Replace the benefit or it will be a constant battle to avoid backsliding.
3. Focus your energy on one challenge at a time. For example, avoid trying to overhaul your diet, exercise, spending, and smoking habits all at once could prove to be overwhelming. Pick one habit to focus your energies on; give it a month. Then add another habit you’d like to chance once you’ve achieved success in eliminating the first bad habit.
· NOTE: You don’t have to be in a hurry. Consider what it would mean if you could just get rid of your 4 worst habits. That’s only 4 months away, with laser focus and honest effort. Comparatively speaking, that’s quick, considering that you’ve probably had those bad habits for a long time.
4. Be emotionally detached, like a scientist. Leave the big emotional struggle for someone else and approach the process like a scientist. Have an attitude of wondering if you can replace the habit. Hypothesize on how it might turn out. Be curious and have a perspective that you are performing an experiment. There’s less drama and bias that way, and you may find greater success.
5. Remove your triggers. For example, get the junk food out of the house if you’re trying to eat healthfully. If you smoke, stay away from the places you always smoke. Working on a budget? Avoid the places that tempt you to spend a lot of money. Habits don’t have a lot of thought behind them – they’re almost like reflexes. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way.
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It might take a couple of tries to get your new positive habit to stick. Notice what worked, improve your approach and keep on going.
7. Remind yourself. It’s easy to forget to perform your new habit. If you’re going to start exercising every day, set up some reminders. If you want to develop a habit of flossing your teeth more regularly, leave the floss out where you can see it.
8. Tell your friends. Your friends can help encourage you to reach your goal. They’ll say something if they see you eating a hot fudge sundae instead of eating a healthy dessert, or smoking on your lunch breaks when you are trying to quit. Get all the help you can.
9. Be consistent. If you’re going to start exercising regularly, try to do it each day at the same time. This is much easier than trying to exercise 3 times a week. Try to do your replacement habit daily.
10. Remember the pain that made you WANT to change. Each day, ask yourself what it will mean if you don’t stop indulging in your bad habit. Visualize the likely outcome – feel the negative emotion, and then remind yourself that you’re making a positive change.
11. Focus on the pleasure. Every day, ask yourself what it will mean if you eliminate or replace your bad habit with something more positive. Visualize the likely outcome of this scenario – see yourself winning!
Bad habits can really put the brakes on your progress in many areas of your life. Use the tips above and give yourself a great opportunity to eliminate your bad habits and replace them with positive and useful habits. There’s no better feeling than knowing you have control over your life.
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