Whatever your nasty vices are, we’ve all got them, so check out some of my favorite tips to get rid of old habits for good. Smoking, overeating, obsessing over calories, poorly managing your finances, being moody towards others, being late, or even just being untidy are all common habits among people today. If you have a bad habit, it’s not impossible to break yourself from that habit at all. In fact, it takes just 21 days to break any bad habit according to research, which seems to be the perfect amount of time to start new ones. Think about some of my favorite inspirational tips to get rid of old habits, and you’ll be happier and stronger for it!
1. Challenge = Change
One of my favorite things to remember when trying to get rid of old habits is to remember that you can’t spell "challenge" without the word "change." Think about that. Isn’t it cool? Truly, you can’t expect to change without a challenge. Once you accept change is necessary, prepare yourself for a challenge to finally take the plunge and do it!
2. Actions Become Habits
Remember, all habits are simply repeated actions. Whatever actions you regularly take part in become your habits. So, how do you get rid of old habits? Start taking new actions. If you want to stop being late for work, then get up 10 minutes earlier and leave 10 minutes earlier, or whatever amount of time applies. If you know that your morning date with the snooze button messes you up, don’t hit the snooze button. If you want to start exercising, then start! There’s no simpler way to break a habit than to simply take an action.
3. Focus on the Prize
It’s easy to think about what you’re giving up when trying to break a habit, but remember the prize ahead. Pull through the struggles and focus on the main goal. Don’t think about how much you miss your old habit, or how easy it is to go back to it. The prize is best reached when you focus on it, and keep reaching for it.
4. Write down the Negatives
When you’re really weak and tempted, write down everything you hated about your old habit and how it negatively impacted your life. Really look at that list and focus on why you’re changing.
5. Write It down and Tear It up
One way that I like to get rid of a bad habit is silly, but for me it’s symbolic, and it works. I write down my habit, as ugly as it might be, and really look hard at it. It puts things in perspective, believe me! Then, I promise myself to change, and simply tear up the piece of paper and flush it down the toilet. I remind myself that part of my life is gone and I no longer need that habit in my life.
6. Add New Things
When you get rid of an old habit, you might feel sort of lost at first. Habits become a part of your life and are easy to fall back on for comfort, stress reduction, etc. So, to combat the feeling of loss from your habit, add new things instead that are good for you. For example, I used to have a terrible junk food habit. When I really decided to give it up, I had to find new things to do with my time and my mouth, obviously. So, I picked up cookbooks and started working out. I started learning to cook healthy meals for myself, and started moving my body. Soon enough, I became motivated to change, and junk food just seemed pointless. Whatever your bad habit is, try something new, and replace your time spent on your previous bad habit with time spent on your new activities instead.
7. Willpower is a Muscle
Remember, willpower is a muscle. It will be as weak as you allow it to be, and as strong as you want it to be. To work your willpower, you’ve got to put it into action. If that means literally telling yourself “No” before you engage in a new activity, so be it. Work your willpower and watch it grow!
I know these things aren’t a quick fix for getting rid of an old habit, but I’ve found them highly effective in my own life. Do you have any tips to get rid of a bad habit?