Do you have any bad habits that seem to be harming your career, your family, and yourself? If your answer is ‘Yes’, this article is for you. You need to realize first, though, that each of us has a bad habit. Some of these bad habits are not too harmful, but some, like cigarette smoking, binge drinking, and porn watching, can be outright destructive. The thing about habits, whether good or bad, is that they are very hard to break since they are an acquired behavior that has been repeated many times and has become almost part of our system. While good habits should be there to stay, the bad ones should have no control over you and should go out the window. The question is how to get there. Here are seven steps I have come up with that could help you quit a bad habit right now. How I do know that they work? I tried them myself.
Recognize Your Need to Quit
The first step to breaking and overcoming a bad habit is to recognize that you have a need. It takes a lot of humility to admit that you are imprisoned to a destructive habit and need help, but once you do, you will be a step closer to breaking the cycle. In my case, I have this habit that I found really hard to break. At first, I justified my actions and didn’t consider myself addicted to it. Eventually, though, I got sick and tired of what it was doing to me and so I gave up all my pride and finally admitted that I needed help. That didn’t help me overcome my bad habit right away, but that became a huge first step for me.
Have a Deeper Purpose for Quitting
When you’ve been doing something for so long, it becomes part of who you are to a point that letting go of it becomes really difficult. One key to success is to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” and then have a good answer. Are you struggling with cigarette smoking? A deeper answer to your ‘Why’ would be your health. If you don’t quit smoking now, you will reap the consequences in the near future. Are you struggling with gambling or impulsive shopping perhaps? If you don’t seek help now, your finances and your relationships will suffer, and along with your future and the future of your family.
Commit to Quit
Once you have decided to quit, commit to starting it today or maybe three days or a week from now. Tell everyone about your decision. Mark your calendar. Consider your decision to quit a big deal. Don’t think that it would be easy, because it wouldn’t be. Consider it a challenge, and commit yourself to overcome it.
Hold Yourself Accountable to Friends
There is power in a community. If you have decided to quit on a bad habit today, talk to your friends about it and tell them to hold you accountable. Let them ask you for regular updates. If you can, create a Facebook page or a blog page about your progress. If you have a spouse, make him or her your accountability partner as well. The purpose of accountability is not only so that you’ll have second thoughts about pursuing your urges when they come, but so that you will have people to support you when things start to get really tough because they will and you have to be ready for it.
Recognize Your Triggers
Every bad habit has a trigger. It may be stress, an event, or even people. To determine your triggers, carry around a notebook and pen with you and take note of things that happened just before you had the urge to engage yourself in your bad habit. For instance, if you have a bad habit of smoking, possible triggers would be stress, peer pressure, or even eating. Take note of the triggers so that you will be more aware of the things or events that you may need to avoid to help you in your pursuit.
Find a Replacement
One of the main reasons you have a bad habit is that there is a need for you that has to be filled. If you can fill that need by doing something else, you can be on your way to achieving your goal. For instance, instead of smoking a stick of cigarette after eating, you can chew gum or have a candy. If you are feeling stressed, which is a very common trigger for most people, you can engage yourself in activities that can help you get rid of it such as listening to music, playing a sport, or going to the gym to work out.
Pray to Delay
Delay is no doubt the greatest remedy to any bad habit. It is so powerful because whenever you get an urge and choose to delay responding to it, the urge eventually goes away. There is another thing more powerful than delay, though, and that is to pray. If you don’t consider yourself spiritual, keep in mind that prayer could come in many forms. For instance, the author of one of the articles in Psychology Today mentioned that for atheists and agnostics, prayer could be a feeling of awe, a sense of peace brought by experiencing nature, and so on. Whether you consider yourself spiritual or not, you can’t deny the fact that prayer works, and it works well in helping you delay your urge to engage yourself in a bad habit.
There is no one formula to quitting a bad habit and what may work for one person may not work for you. If you have experience in overcoming a certain destructive habit in your life and would like to share with us, don’t hesitate to drop your comments below. Thank you!
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