“Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed down-stairs one step at a time.” ― Mark Twain
Habit maketh a man. It reflects both the personality and how far a man has come. However, not all habits are healthy. Some habits are incredibly damaging to physical or mental health and can even affect how one functions.
Everyone has bad habits. There is not a single person alive that has never experienced having a bad habit or two. Of course, some eventually find their way out of it. People find it difficult to let go of habits they have been accustomed to for a long time. For some, it even borders on impossible.
Habit can be particularly hard to break because it is ingrained in one’s behavior and causes a person to do a certain thing out of practice. A major mistake individuals tend to make is expecting immediate results right after they decide to break up a bad habit to become better. This then causes them to give up on pushing themselves towards their goal. Some people see no point in making a move towards self-improvement as they are lacking in discipline and effort.
Some individuals are lucky enough to be able to replace a bad habit with a fairly better one in a little over two weeks.
As this is not the case for everyone, it is better to find out ways on how to be consistent in doing a task or maintaining a mindset and moving at your own pace.
How to break a bad habit
Breaking a bad habit is indeed challenging. But contrary to the belief of some people, it is not an impossible feat. Everyone changes their habits every once in a while – may it be good or bad.
Here are a few simple steps that may help you on your road to self-improvement by breaking bad habits.
The first thing a person has to do when breaking a bad habit is to be aware of what needs to be changed. It is impossible to move forward when a person fails to acknowledge for himself what needs to be improved. This bad habit may be getting distracted by notifications or drinking too many glasses of wine in a day.
The bad habit should not be limited to what most people would deem a bad habit. A bad habit for you may be a healthy habit for others. An example of this is being constantly in touch with friends and family. If texting or calling people is taking up too much of your time and is affecting your work or time of rest, then it is bad for you.
Once the area for improvement is recognized, the triggers should be taken track of. This is made up of when the habit kicks in and the environment the person is exposed to. How many times it happens and who the person is with should also be taken note of. This information will make it easier for the person to recognize when and why a bad habit happens.
When substantial information about the habit and its triggers has been gathered, it is time to start taking action. For instance, the bad habit may be being so engrossed in your job that you forget to take care of your body. You may set up alarms to remind you to take a short break every couple of hours or so. You may also opt to take the time to enjoy your food during dinner, or even go on a leave to just relax.
On the other hand, if you find yourself neglecting your responsibilities, you should make a strict deal with yourself. This may be in the form of following strict deadlines and having someone else to help you in your endeavor. Having someone who is aware of your goal may help in getting you back on track and perform better.
Getting used to a new habit may take some time but the results are surely worth it. In the meantime, while you are still on the road towards self-improvement, you should keep your eyes on the prize. Never be too lazy to get up in the morning to do a cardio workout or give in to the temptation of binge-watching shows instead of working.
Make every single day meaningful and productive by not giving up on breaking bad habits. The bad habit may be as simple as chewing fingernails but it doesn’t mean that it can be ignored. Keep on identifying bad habits and strive towards improvement – or reverting to the self that existed prior to the bad habit.
It is important to keep in mind that breaking bad habits is a process. It is not something that happens overnight. It takes mindfulness and discipline. Most of all, just like losing weight, it takes time. A person should not expect to notice immediate results nor compare himself with others because everybody breaks bad habits at a different pace. It is important not to rush oneself and just focus on self-improvement.
Written by Katreena Sarmiento
About the Author
Kat is a Molecular Biology Scientist turned Growth Marketing Scientist. During her free time, she loves to write articles that will bring delight, empower women, and spark the business mind. She loves to bake but unfortunately, baking doesn't love her back. She has many things in her arsenal and writing is one of her passion projects.