5 Proven Ways To Break Your Bad Habits
Some of these are obvious such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating junk food and so on. But there are some bad habits that you have formed over the years that you may not even realize are causing you harm.
Some bad habits can prevent you from getting what you really want in your life. If you procrastinate a lot then this can really hold you back for example. Maybe you have some bad habits which are limiting your social skills or preventing you from getting that promotion at work that you desire.
In this powerful report we will show you how you can identify your bad habits and then give you 5 proven ways to get rid of your bad habits for good. It will take time, effort and determination on your part to eradicate your bad habits but you can do it. It will truly set you free.
What are your Bad Habits?
If you don’t know what all of your bad habits are (it is likely that you will know some of them) then the best way to identify them is to ask yourself what they are. You may think that this sounds too simple to be effective but it really does work.
Your habits are stored in your subconscious mind. If you want to know what is going on in your subconscious then the most effective way of doing this is to ask yourself the right questions. Your subconscious will be compelled to answer these questions for you.
So get yourself a pen and paper and go to an area where you will not face any distractions. If the TV is on then turn it off. Put your phone into silent mode so that you are not totally out of contact with the world. This is the most important question to ask yourself:
“What are my bad habits?”
Surely it is not that simple? Yes it is! You need to be committed to want to identify your bad habits. That is all your subconscious mind needs to provide you with the answers. Don’t do this in a half hearted manner as you will not get the answers. You need to be determined to identify your bad habits so that you can break them.
It doesn’t matter what answers you receive, write them all down. If you have a long list of bad habits then don’t worry you can Break Bad Habits. Not receiving answers to the question is more concerning. Just focus on the question and keep asking yourself. Something will definitely turn up!
The Process of Eliminating Bad Habits
Every person has a number of bad habits and good habits. You are more likely to know what most of your bad habits are as opposed to your good habits. If you followed our advice in the last section then you should have identified your bad habits.
So what do you do now?
There are many people that admit that they want to stop all of their bad habits but the problem is they don’t really know how to go about this in the most effective way. They try different methods and find it to be a real struggle to rid themselves of their bad habits. If they make any progress it doesn’t last long and the bad habit returns.
The first step to ridding yourself of a bad habit is to know what a habit really is. In the most simple terms, a habit is a behavior routine that you repeat often that is triggered in your subconscious mind.
Because your bad habits (and good ones) are rooted in your subconscious it makes it difficult for you to identify them. This is why the questioning technique for identifying your bad habits is so powerful.
You are the sum total of your habits good and bad. To really eliminate your bad habits it is necessary for you to have some insight into how they originated. This is not as difficult as it may seem.
The formation of any habit is a process. There are 4 parts to the habit formation process which are:
1. The trigger
2. The craving
3. The response
4. The reward
When you are able to break down your habits into these four parts it becomes a lot easier for you to understand how habits work. In turn this provides you with a way to break a habit. The psychologists call this 4 step process the “habit loop”. It makes sense doesn’t it — something triggers your habit and then you have a craving to indulge in it.
The craving for the habit is so strong that it elicits a response from you which is a behavior or action. While you are indulging in this behavior you will send pleasure signals to your brain which will reinforce the habit.
Here is an example. You have had a stressful afternoon at work. This triggers the craving for a drink.
Instead of going home after work you go to the bar just down the street where everyone knows you.
You spend all night in the bar which sends pleasure signals to your brain.
The 4 elements in the habit formation process form a neurological loop which enables you to create new habits and put them on autopilot. As soon as the habit is triggered you will follow the routine automatically. It is not really automatic, but because it happens so fast it certainly feels like it is. The good news is that there are a number of effective ways that you can eliminate the bad habits from your life. Some of these are going to be more effective for you than others. This is because we are all different and have certain inclinations and unique circumstances.
So let’s take a look at the five most common ways of eliminating bad habits:
- 1 :Cold Turkey
This is a classic way of eliminating a bad habit that has been around for a very long time. It is probably the hardest method out there and takes an incredible amount of willpower. A lot of people that experience a certain amount of success with the cold turkey method report that the bad habit returns after a while.
What is cold turkey?
Well it means that you just decide to stop the bad habit from this point forward. So if you smoke cigarettes you can just stop smoking them. Cold turkey is used a lot to wean people off of a hard drug addiction. You may have seen documentaries on TV about this. It can be a very tough road to shake off an addiction.
Eliminating bad habits using any method is not going to be easy. The reason is because all of our habits are deeply ingrained within us. Bad habits often trigger repeats and when this happens the old bad behavior quickly comes to the surface.
Unfortunately it is this triggering that makes cold turkey the most ineffective of the methods that we will share with you in this report. If you go cold turkey and you are unable to sustain the breaking of your bad habit then this can leave you feeling resentful and that you wasted your time.
This can be a crushing blow for your self esteem. You tried and you failed. It wasn’t possible for you to pull it off. You do not have the resolve or the stomach for a fight like this. Can you see how this can happen?
That doesn’t mean that cold turkey never works though. A lot of people have quit smoking and other bad habits using cold turkey. They had to endure a lot of pain and anguish to achieve this but the reward for giving up smoking was so great for them that they pulled it off.
Breaking a bad habit with the cold turkey approach is very good for you as a person. It demonstrates that once you put your mind to something you are going to follow through with it. This sends powerful signals to your subconscious mind which will help you to persevere with other tough challenges in the future.
- 2 : Replacing Your Habit Loop
There have been a number of studies that have shown that the brain stores habits in a different way than it does other memories. With a habit, there is an emotion within you that creates a trigger which in turn creates a strong urge for you to behave in a certain way or take a specific action. So what does this mean?
Well one school of thought is that habits are hardwired into your brain meaning that there is no way you can remove them. So after you have formed a bad habit it will remain there for the rest of your days. This would explain why a lot of drug addicts return to their bad ways after rehab. But it doesn’t explain why some do not.
Another school of thought is that you do not eliminate a bad habit but you overwrite it. Instead of performing the old routine when the habit is triggered you will perform a new routine which is good. You are effectively reprogramming your brain to take another course of action instead of the old one.
To make this work for you, the new routine has to be a lot stronger than the old one for the overwrite to stick. The science of neuro linguistic programming (NLP) works in this way. It is an effective method for interrupting old destructive patterns and replacing them with new ones that are beneficial to you.
This does work and can be very effective. What you are doing here is changing your existing habit loop. The trick is to replace the original loop with another that means more to you. It brings a greater reward.
So if you smoke cigarettes the next time that you have an urge to smoke you can replace this with something else. You know that this is bad for your health so you replace the smoking routine with something that is good for your health like some gentle exercise. If your health is more important to you than the kick you get from smoking then this will work.
Over time this new pattern takes hold and you will find that it is near impossible for you to return to the old bad habit.
- 3 : The Small Steps Method
This is a combination of the first two methods of cold turkey and replacing your habit loop. For people that really want to get rid of their bad habit but know that going completely cold turkey is not going to work for them this is a good method.
What you have to do here is to take a close look at your behaviors and identify the triggers for the bad habit. By doing this you can take small steps to gradually limit your indulgence in your bad habit.
A good example of this is to cut down the number of cigarettes that you smoke each day. So if you regularly smoke 20 a day reduce this down to 19 then 18 and so on over a period of time. It is a good idea to do this on a weekly basis. So week 1 you will smoke 19 a day, week 2 18 a day etc.
Having a regular milestone interval (such as a week) forces you to work towards the next milestone (from 19 to 18 a day for example). If you do this consistently over time then these small changes to your bad habit will help you to stop it altogether.
If you have a craving for candy then work out how much candy you consume each day. Reduce this over time until you hardly eat any candy at all. The same goes for drinking alcohol and other bad habits that you may have.
This is not a perfect method but it does work. We recommend that you assume from the beginning that you may slip occasionally when you are using this method. If you do slip then don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on the horse the next day and continue with your good work.
If you can quantify a bad habit (how many times do you do it over a certain period such as a day) then this method has a very good chance of working for you. It does require discipline and persistence which are good character traits for you to develop anyway.
- 4 : Focus On Good Habits
One of the most effective ways to break a bad habit is to starve it of attention. Other methods of breaking bad habits force you to focus your attention on the negative aspects of your life. This is not always the best thing as it can seem like a restriction on your life rather than helping you to become free.
People don’t like to miss out on something good. If drinking ten bottles of beer a day makes you feel good then not doing this will make you miss this feeling. If that pleasurable feeling is really strong within you then giving up drinking those beers is going to be a tough thing to do.
When you focus all of your attention on eliminating a bad habit you will find that you spend the majority of your time each day watching what you do. This is really tough on you because you feel like you are depriving yourself of a pleasure that you have enjoyed for a long time. After all, your habits, good or bad, define you.
Deep down you know that stopping drinking ten beers a day is the right thing to do. It is going to cause you health problems down the road and you want to avoid that at all costs. But drinking those beers helped you to cope with life better. It helped you to relieve stress and anxiety and made the world seem like a better place.
So what do you do here?
Well rather than focusing on your bad habits and what you can’t do, make a commitment to focus on new activities that will provide a much greater contribution to your life. These will become your new good habits.
What you are doing here is funneling all of your energy into good habits that will improve your life in different ways rather than trying to avoid what is wrong with your life right now. This method does work and is effective but you will always need to be on your guard as those bad habits can resurface if you lose your focus on your new empowering habits.
- 5 : Checking Your Progress For Reinforcement
Now you might not call this a bad habit breaking method and that’s fine. But we felt that this was so important to include in this report. Whichever way you choose to break your bad habits this will be extremely beneficial to you and will provide you with the motivation that you need to continue.
Think about the last “small steps” method. If you have committed to smoking one less cigarette a day each week then you need to check that you are actually following the plan right? So in the first week you went from 20 a day to 19 a day. Count the number of cigarettes that you have smoked every day and write this down.
If you achieved the 19 a day number for a week then this will make you feel very proud of yourself. It will inspire you to continue on to next week and reducing to 18 a day. What you are doing here is reinforcing your new habit loop.
Let’s say that you have decided to use the replacement habit loop method. For this to be a success for you it is essential that you track what is working for you and what isn’t. When more things are working than not working you will reinforce your new habit loop.
At the end of the day it comes down to this — you have made a commitment to break a bad habit so you have to check if you are still indulging in that bad habit or not with the method that you have chosen.
If you are brave enough to go cold turkey on a bad habit then count each day that you haven’t indulged and make the feeling of pride and success very strong within you. This will work wonders for your motivation and reinforcement.
Let’s say that you have smoked cigarettes for years. There has not been a single day in all of those years when you didn’t smoke a cigarette. So when you go your first day without smoking this is an incredible achievement for you. It is worthy of intense celebration and you need to feel incredibly proud of yourself.
Celebrate every day that you have gone cold turkey on a habit. Put up a calendar where you will see it every day and strike off the days you didn’t indulge in your bad habit. Over time this will look really impressive as weeks and then months go by without you having indulged in the bad habit.
The best thing about checking your progress is the sense of accomplishment that you get from it. It doesn’t matter what other people think. If they do not have the bad habit then they cannot know how hard it is to abstain from it. You are a winner and you can do anything. This is a great way to reinforce your current behavior. Often the key to success with breaking bad habits, or reinforcing new good ones, is the change of focus. Before you were fixated on the pleasure or reward that the bad habit brought you. Now you are focused on the freedom that breaking the bad habit brings you. So keep checking your progress each day when you are breaking a bad habit.
Please always bear in mind that breaking bad habits is going to require time and persistence. It will be a worthwhile journey for you but it certainly isn’t going to be easy whatever method you choose. There will always be the temptation to return to the bad habit when those triggers kick in.
Always see the big picture. The end result is what will keep you going as will those celebrations throughout your journey. You will feel totally liberated when you free yourself from your bad habits. So keep this in mind at all times and keep persevering because it will be completely worth it.