Everyone has adopted a bad habit at some point in his or her life. It could be biting of the nails, procrastinating, eating unhealthily, smoking or sleeping with makeup on.
Having a bad habit is common amongst almost every individual, I’ve had many bad habits growing up, but the most important thing is finding an effective way to break it.
Here are a couple of steps to take to overcome whatever bad habit you’ve been dealing with.
- Accept That You Have A Bad Habit –
Acceptance is the primary step towards making a change for the better. Many people have failed to admit that what they have been doing repeatedly is bad, and consequently, they program their minds to carry on with the habit.
Start by examining yourself thoroughly and figuring out the bad habit you have, ask someone if you have to. After identifying this habit, accept that you have it and confess within yourself that it is indeed a bad habit. Acceptance will help you become fully aware that you have some overcoming to do.
- Set A Date, Make A Goal –
Bad habits can be unbelievably hard to break, especially when they are habits you developed a long time ago.
The second step towards overcoming a bad habit is by making an agreement with yourself that by a particular day, month or year, you would have gotten rid of your bad habit for good. Let it become one of your personal goals and ensure to review it from time to time.
E.g. by the 1st of January 2016, I must officially be free from my habit of drinking too much alcohol.
Write your targeted date down somewhere, maybe inside your diary or pin it up on the wall.
Remember to continually check up on your desired overcoming date as it approaches, in order to know whether you’re still on track or you’re lagging behind.
- Take Action
There are multiple ways to break a bad habit, but it has to be accompanied with critical thinking and hard work. After accepting that you have a bad habit and setting a targeted date to overcome it, it is then time to take some action.
Taking action simply means creating effective measures in which you can take to help you get rid of your bad habit.
Each habit has its own way to be overcome. What’s yours? Is it nail biting? Take action by thinking of obstacles that would make you put a stop to it, such as putting adhesives on your fingernails or cultivating disciplinary tactics like pinching or hitting yourself once you’re about to bite on your nail.
If your habit is texting your friends instead of doing homework, take action by switching your phone off or handing your phone over to your parents once it’s time to work.
If your habit is talking while eating, take action by sitting on your own or somewhere else when it’s lunch time, to enable you get used to being quiet and mindful while eating.
If your habit is watching too many YouTube videos, take action by turning off your Internet connection for some hours everyday to decrease the amount of time you spend on your laptop.
Take these actions over and over again, until it becomes a part of you, and even if you fall back a couple of times, do not give up. Remember, practice makes perfect.
- Eliminate All Influences
Although this is part of taking action, it is also a step I’d like to expatiate on.
There is always a story behind every bad habit, but to overcome it; you have to get rid of the root of the problem first.
Something must have triggered you to develop your bad habit. So ask yourself, what has made me develop my habit? Is it a friend? Stop all contact with that person. Is it a series on your laptop? Delete it. Is it a place you visited? Make sure you never go there again. Is it the area you live in? Move elsewhere. Is it the school you attend? Make a transfer. Is it an object in your room? Throw it away.
Whatever has influenced or can influence your bad habit must be completely gotten rid of, otherwise, it will make your progress much harder than expected.
- Make Sure You Reward Yourself
The quest to fight a bad habit can be very difficult. It will not be an easy journey, of course, but rewarding yourself as you make progress is an effective way to keep you going until you finally reach your goal.
Treat yourself to something you love each time you make an improvement towards overcoming your habit. For example, if you move from spending 7 hours of drinking, to 3 hours, treat yourself to something you love. It could be an activity you enjoy, your favorite chocolates or a simple gift to yourself.
Alternatively, you could tell someone else to do the rewarding for you. Make a deal with a friend that each week you improve on a bad habit, he or she would reward you with anything you want. It’s all up to you!
Rewarding yourself is only a strategy to keep you motivated throughout your journey.
- Be Consistent, Involve Others
Overcoming a bad habit isn’t usually as easy as many people think it is, but remember that consistency is key. When you feel like calling it quits, pray, ask for strength and fight that voice in your head that says you can’t do it! Pick yourself up each time you slack and keep reminding yourself of the amazing lifestyle that awaits you once your bad habit is gone.
However, if it seems as though all hope is lost, or you feel like you’re becoming emotionally or physically strained, do not be afraid to involve others.
As embarrassing as some bad habits can be, it’s better to overcome it with the help of others than to carry on in shame.
Seek help from those around you. Ask your family members, friends or devoted colleagues for assistance as soon as you feel you need some extra support.