Ephraim is a strategist and a creative content writer who writes informative, educative, tech, and economical content that delivers results.
Everyone has bad habits. Some of these are obvious such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and eating junk food. But there are some bad habits that you have formed over the years that you may not even realize are causing you harm.
Some bad habits can prevent you from getting what you want in your life. If you procrastinate a lot, this can hold you back. Maybe you have some terrible habits limiting your social skills or preventing you from getting that promotion you desire at work.
This influential report will show you how to identify your bad habits and then give you five proven ways to get rid of your bad habits. It will take time, effort, and determination to eradicate your bad habits, but you can do it, and it will truly set you free.
What Are Your Bad Habits?
If you don't know what all of your bad habits are (you will likely know some of them), then the best way to identify them is to ask yourself what they are. You may think that this sounds too simple to be effective, but it does work.
Your subconscious mind stores your habits. The most efficient technique to figure out what's going on in your subconscious is to ask yourself the right questions, and your subconscious will feel driven to provide you with answers to these queries.
So get yourself a pen and paper and go to an area where you will not face any distractions. If the TV is on, then turn it off. Put your phone into a silent mode to not be totally out of contact with the world. This is the most critical question to ask yourself:
What Are My Bad Habits?
It would be best if you committed to identifying your bad habits. That is all your subconscious mind needs to provide you with the answers. Don't half-heartedly do this, as you will not get the solutions. It would be best if you were determined to identify your bad habits so that you can break them.
It doesn't matter what answers you receive; write them all down. If you have a long list of bad habits, don't worry; you can break them all. Not receiving answers to the question is more concerning. Just focus on the question and keep asking yourself, and something will turn up!
Steps to Eliminate Bad Habits
Every person has many bad habits and good habits, and you are more likely to know what most of your bad habits are instead of your good habits.
So what do you do now?
Many people admit that they want to stop all of their bad habits, but the problem is that they don't know how to go about this most effectively. They try different methods and find it a real struggle to rid themselves of their bad habits. It doesn't last long if they progress, and the bad habit returns.
The first step to ridding yourself of a bad habit is to know what a habit is. In the most basic sense, a habit is a behavior pattern you repeat, and your subconscious mind initiates that.
Because your poor habits (and good habits) are ingrained in your subconscious, detecting them is challenging, so the questioning approach for discovering negative habits is practical. You are the total of your habits, good and bad. To eliminate your bad habits, you must have some insight into how they originated, and it is not as difficult as it may seem.
The formation of any habit is a process. There are four parts to the habit formation process which are:
1. The trigger
2. The craving
3. The response
4. The reward
When you can break down your habits into these four parts, it becomes easier for you to understand how habits work. In turn, this provides you with a way to break a habit. Psychologists call this 4 step process the "habit loop." It makes sense, doesn't it – something triggers your habit, and then you have a craving to indulge in it.
The craving for the habit is so intense that it elicits a response from you, behavior, or action. While indulging in this behavior, you will send pleasure signals to your brain, reinforcing the habit.
Here is an example. You have had a stressful afternoon at work, which triggers the craving for a drink. Instead of going home after work, you go to the bar just down the street where everyone knows you. You spend all night in the bar, which sends pleasure signals to your brain.
The four elements in the habit formation process form a neurological loop that enables you to create new habits and put them on autopilot. As soon as the habit is triggered, you will follow the routine automatically. It is not automatic, but it certainly feels like it is because it happens so fast. The good news is that there are several practical ways to eliminate the bad habits in your life. Some of these are going to be more effective for you than others. We are all different and have particular inclinations and unique circumstances.
Five Best Ways to Get Rid of Your Bad Habits
It is a traditional way of eliminating a bad habit that has been around for a long time. It is probably the most complex method and takes incredible willpower. Many people who have had some success with the cold turkey treatment find that the harmful habit returns after a short period.
What is cold turkey?
Well, it means that you decide to stop the bad habit from this point forward. So if you smoke cigarettes, you can stop smoking them. Cold turkey is a popular method for weaning individuals off of solid drugs. You may have seen documentaries on TV about this, and it can be a tough road to shake off an addiction.
Eliminating bad habits using any method is not going to be easy, and the reason is that all of our habits are deeply ingrained within us. Bad habits often trigger repeats, and when this happens, the old bad behavior quickly comes to the surface.
Unfortunately, this triggering makes cold turkey the most ineffective of the methods we will share with you in this report. If you go cold turkey and you cannot break your bad habit, this can leave you feeling resentful and that you wasted your time.
It can be a crushing blow to your self-esteem. You tried, and you failed. You could not pull it off, and you do not have the resolve or the stomach for a fight like this. Can you see how this can happen?
That doesn't mean that cold turkey never works, however. Many people have quit smoking and other bad habits using cold turkey. They had to endure a lot of pain and anguish to achieve this, but the reward for giving up smoking was so great for them that they pulled it off.
Breaking a bad habit with the cold turkey approach is very good for you, and it demonstrates that once you put your mind to something, you will follow through with it. It sends powerful signals to your subconscious mind, which will help you persevere with other tough challenges in the future.
Replacing Those Bad Habits
Some studies have shown that the brain stores habits differently than it does other memories. With an addiction, there is an emotion within you that creates a trigger, which makes a strong urge for you to behave in a certain way or take a specific action. So what does this mean?
Well, one school of thought is that habits are hardwired into your brain, meaning that there is no way you can remove them. So after you have formed a bad habit, it will remain there for the rest of your days. It would explain why many drug addicts return to their wrong ways after rehab. But it doesn't explain why some do not.
Another school of thought is that you do not eliminate a bad habit, but you overwrite it. When a habit sparks, you will execute a new, beneficial routine instead of doing it. You're rewiring your brain to choose a different path rather than the previous one.
For this to function for you, the new routine has to be stronger than the old one for the overwrite to stick. The science of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) works in this way, and it is an effective method for interrupting old destructive patterns and replacing them with new ones that are beneficial to you.
It does work and can be very effective. What you are doing here is changing your existing habit, and the trick is to replace the original coil with another that means more to you and brings a greater reward.
So if you smoke cigarettes the next time you have an urge to smoke, you can replace this with something else. You know that this is bad for your health, so you replace the smoking routine with something good, like some gentle exercise. It will work if your health is more important to you than the kick you get from smoking.
Over time this new pattern takes hold, and you will find it nearly impossible to return to the old bad habit.
The Small Steps Method
It combines the first two cold turkey methods and replaces your bad habits. It is suitable for people who want to get rid of their terrible habits but know that going completely cold turkey will not work.
What you have to do here is to take a close look at your behaviors and identify the triggers for the bad habit. You can gradually take small steps to limit your indulgence progressively in your lousy practice.
An excellent example of this is to cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. So if you regularly smoke 20 a day, reduce this down to 19, then 18, and so on over some time. It is an excellent idea to do this every week. So week one, you will smoke 19 a day; in week 2, 18 a day.
A regular milestone interval (such as a week) forces you to work towards the next milestone (for 19 to 18 days). If you do this consistently over time, these small changes to your bad habit will help you stop it altogether.
If you have a craving for candy, work out how much candy you consume each day. Reduce this over time until you hardly eat any candy at all. The same goes for drinking alcohol and other bad habits that you may have. It is not a perfect method, but it does work. We recommend that you assume from the beginning that you may occasionally slip when you are using this method. If you do fall, then don't beat yourself up. Just get back on the horse the next day and continue your excellent work.
If you can quantify a lousy habit (how often do you do it over a certain period, such as a day), then this method has a perfect chance of working for you. It does require discipline and persistence, which are good character traits for you to develop.
One of the most effective ways to break a bad habit is to starve it of attention.
Focus On Good Habits
One of the most effective ways to break a bad habit is to starve it of attention. Other methods of breaking bad habits force you to focus your attention on the negative aspects of your life. It is not always the best thing as it can seem like a restriction on your life rather than helping you become free.
People don't like to miss out on something good. If drinking ten bottles of beer a day makes you feel good, then not doing this will make you miss this feeling. If that pleasurable feeling is powerful within you, then giving up drinking those beers will be a tricky thing to do.
When you focus all of your attention on eliminating a bad habit, you will find that you spend the majority of your time each day watching what you do. It is tough on you because you feel like you are depriving yourself of a pleasure you have enjoyed for a long time. After all, your habits, good or bad, define you.
You know that stopping drinking ten beers a day is the right thing to do, and it will cause you health problems down the road, and you want to avoid that at all costs. But drinking those beers helped you cope with life better, and it allowed you to relieve stress and anxiety and made the world seem better.
So what do you do here?
Rather than focusing on your bad habits and what you can't do, commit to focusing on new activities that will provide a much more significant contribution to your life. These will become your new good habits.
What you are doing here is funneling all of your energy into good habits that will improve your life in different ways rather than trying to avoid what is wrong with your life right now. This method does work and is effective, but you will always need to be on your guard as those bad habits can resurface if you lose your focus on your new empowering habits.
Observing Your Progress for Reinforcement
You might not call this a wrong habit-breaking method, and that's fine. But we felt that this was so important to include in this report. Whichever way you choose to break your bad habits, this will be highly beneficial to you and provide you with the motivation to continue.
Think about the last "small steps" method. If you have committed to smoking one less cigarette each week, you need to check that you are following the plan. So in the first week, you went from 20 a day to 19 a day. Count the number of cigarettes you have smoked every day and write this down.
If you achieved the 19-a-day number for a week, you would feel very proud. It will inspire you to continue next week and reduce to 18 a day. What you are doing here is reinforcing your new habit loop.
Let's say that you have decided to use the replacement habit loop method. For this to be a success for you, it is essential that you track what is working for you and what isn't. You will reinforce your new habit loop when more things are working than not working.
It comes down to this – you have committed to breaking a bad habit, so you have to check if you are still indulging in that bad habit or not with the method that you have chosen.
If you are brave enough to go cold turkey on a bad habit, then count each day that you haven't indulged and make the feeling of pride and success very strong within you. It will work wonders for your motivation and reinforcement.
Let's say that you have smoked cigarettes for years. There has not been a single day when you didn't smoke a cigarette in all of those years. So when you go your first day without smoking, this is an incredible achievement for you. It is worthy of intense celebration, and you need to feel incredibly proud of yourself.
Celebrate every day that you have gone cold turkey on a habit. Put up a calendar where you will see it every day and strike off the days you didn't indulge in your bad habit. Over time this will look impressive as weeks and then months go by without you having indulged in the bad habit.
The best thing about checking your progress is the sense of accomplishment that you get from it. It doesn't matter what other people think. If they do not have a bad habit, they cannot know how hard it is to abstain from it. You are a winner, and you can do anything. It is a great way to reinforce your current behavior. The key to success in breaking bad habits, or strengthening new good ones, is a change of focus. Before, you have fixated on the pleasure or reward that the horrible habit brought you. Now you are focused on the freedom that breaking the bad habit brings you. So keep checking your progress each day when you break a bad habit.
Please always remember that breaking bad habits will require time and persistence. It will be a worthwhile journey for you, but it certainly isn't going to be easy, whatever method you choose. There will always be the temptation to return to the bad habit when those triggers kick in.
Always see the big picture. The result is what will keep you going, as will those celebrations throughout your journey. You will feel liberated when you free yourself from your bad habits. So keep this in mind at all times and keep persevering because it will be completely worth it.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Ephraim Ejimofor