​How to Break Bad Habits

Have you heard of the term habit loop? Good or bad habits start with a habit loop. This is a three-part process: the cue, the routine and the reward. It tells our brains to go into automatic mode and strengthens the specific act or behavior. Your brain remembers the behavior and it fixes the particular habit loop in your life.

Break Bad Habits #1: Awareness

The first step to breaking a bad habit, is to become aware of it. Acknowledge the fact that you have a bad habit and do not try to find excuses for behavior that limits your success. Bad habits do not vanish eventually, they get to be a part of your routine and daily life. Awareness leads to action and you can only get rid of a bad habit if you take positive action.

Break Bad Habits #2: Bad Triggers

Triggers or cues start the habit loop.In order to break  bad habit, you have to determine what triggers lead to the habit. If you want to stop drinking, don’t even pour one glass of alcohol. Stop. If you want to lose weight, remove fatty and starchy food from your house and substitute it with health food. Remove the triggers.

Break Bad Habits #3: Bad to Positive

Removing the bad habit may leave you feeling like something is missing. You need to replace the bad habit with a good habit. Stress and boredom are the prime instigators of bad habits. Ahead of time, plan how to replace the bad habit with a good habit. If you were used to drinking a beer after work, rather go for a walk or a jog.

Break Bad Habits #4: Accountability

We quit something after we start, mainly because we do not hold ourselves accountable. You may lose interest for a variety of reasons and quit, but if you want to carry on with a good habit or break a bad habit, you have to hold yourself accountable. Mark each successful day on your calendar. When you see all the positive ticks, you will be less likely to quit and revert to the old behavior.

Break Bad Habits #5: Slipping

Be honest, nobody is 100% perfect. You may slip now and then, but the secret lies in getting back on track immediately. Do not beat yourself up about a slip or two. That will only make it more difficult to get going with the good habit again, because a negative state of mind will most likely lead you back to the bad habit. Stop right there, accept the slip, forget it  and focus on getting it right now .. .

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