Most of us are living with at least one bad habit, although we don’t like to admit it. Some habits, like smoking, can pose a severe health risk, but others, like knuckle cracking and nail-biting, are just tedious. Odds are you’ve had your bad habit for some time, which might make you think that it will be difficult to break. Fortunately, if you follow these three simple steps, you can break your bad habits.
Step #1 – Make it Conscious
The first step that you need to take to break your bad habits is to figure out when and why you engage in your bad habit. If you notice that you are doing it and determine the circumstances for participating in your bad habit, and what feelings are attached to it. If you can do this, then you might be able to figure out why you are engaging in the bad habit and will have a better chance of being able to stop it.
Step #2 – Put It In Writing
When you’ve figured out when and why you start to engage in a particular habit, take the time to write it down, to help you establish a baseline. Write down the antecedents, the emotions surrounding the bad habit, and what happens when you engage in your bad habit. Doing this will make your bad habit more conscious.
You should keep a log for at least a week so that you have enough data to take the next step, which is analyzing the data and looking at what your usual triggers are. As you put your information about your bad habit in writing, you also want to write down a list of the pros and cons of the behavior and keep a detailed record of when you engage in the activity.
Step #3 – Bait and Switch
When you realize when and why you are engaging in your bad habit, the next step that you need to take is to find a temporary or permanent replacement that isn’t as annoying. If you tend to bite your nails, you could chew gum instead. If you have a habit of clearing your throat, the alternative might be some slow exhaling because it is impossible to do that and clear your throat at the same time.
If you have some bad habits that you’d like to break, the process is a lot easier than you might think. Follow these three steps, and soon, you’ll notice you’re no longer engaging in your bad habits.