We all have habits we wish we could do away with, but change can be challenging. Laying out my clothes ready for work the night before is a good habit. However, spending too much of my budget on unnecessary items, indulging in unhealthy eating, staring at my social media home feed, snoozing that alarm several times before waking up, and biting my nails are some of the bad behaviors that I have been wanting to part with.
Despite how hard we try to shed off our Achilles heels, we end up doing the same things. I fully attest that habits are hard to break, especially if they date back to our childhood stage or developed during our teenage days.
Bad habits can afflict everyone. However, people grow and learn, and in the same measure, we can adopt various techniques to nip our behavioral vices. There is so much more to habit-forming.
Below, I am including my top 4 hacks on how to break a bad habit. If you wish to read more about my work, please visit my website, an influencer agency, or follow me on Instagram – @clubfashionista.
- Identifying my triggers
The first step to shedding bad habits is through recognition. I had to notice and acknowledge behaviors that I have to change. It’s a gradual process, but first, identify if the habits follow a specific pattern. This is the road to a better life.
To identify my triggers, I considered these factors:
- The place and time when my habitual behavior occurs
- The feel when they happen and
- How they affect the people involved.
I learned to clear the table after the meals, avoid slouching, and adopting good posture, among others. It all started with a single step.
- It’s OK to form a routine
When we link together our different stages of habitual improvement, we make a routine. Just like those fitness influencers we love to follow to receive tips on exercising, maintaining a routine is key to pull through. It all starts with flushing the toilet, which cues us to wash our hands and avoid the triggers to biting the nails. Doing this repeatedly makes the behavior a routine.
By doing something that relieves our distress, our brains tend to release dopamine which gives us action satisfaction, and hence we want to do it over and over again.
- Always seek the bigger and the better
It is imperative to replace our initial rewards with curiosity. For instance, I’m always running late for work. What if, instead of figuring out what lie to tell my manager, I substitute it with the question, “Why am I always late?”
The reward value of curiosity is a tangible difference. Maybe I’m always running late because I spend an hour singing in the shower, dressing up, or sipping that coffee like I have all the time in the world.
- Habit replacement
If we keep doing the same things, we cannot get off our comfort zones with just faith that “Someday I’ll change.” We have to find something better than what we’ve been doing. I know that I should switch my phone off an hour after I get to bed, but that will not happen. I’ll be there after midnight, still smiling over cute puppies and fine cars. What if I choose to read a book instead of surfing the net? What if, instead of eating junk, I try to cook that delicious but healthy meal?
Breaking old habits and forming new ones begins with that first trial and maintaining consistent new and healthier cycles.