A bad habit is an action which is permanently repeated and is harmful for well-being and health of people. No matter whether you realize that you have one or not, most likely it will decrease the quality of life and lead to some unwanted consequences. Even if you understand pretty well that there is something wrong in your behavior and are brave enough to face the bad habit, it’s not that easy to get rid of it. There are many factors which can make the process of dealing with this problem harder, or vice versa, easy it up, like duration, willpower and environment. And there are various tips to help people overcome the bad habit they suffer from.
Tip 1: Face the Problem
The very first thing which is necessary to do is understand that you have got a bad habit. Visualizing is brilliant – you are to take a piece of paper and answer the following questions:
- Have you got an unwanted habit which you would like to get rid of?
- How can you improve yourself to substitute the habit?
- How are you going to get rid of it?
- What are the simplest and most effective steps you are going to take to achieve success?
A crucial thing is to focus on one habit only (although you may have many), otherwise, you will never succeed. This is because of willpower limits, which is called ego depletion. When it’s necessary to restrict yourself too much, you become vulnerable and risk failing.
You are to understand that there are more reasons to change your lifestyle than leave it like that. Describe all the pros and cons which you can think of, be as honest as possible and then analyze the list. It’s really important to avoid looking for explanations and excuses like saying that it’s possible to visit a dentist when writing about yellow teeth as a disadvantage of smoking.
Tip 2: Find Their Kinds and Reasons
It is claimed that people are to find the root of their obsessive habits to begin fighting them effectively. And the first step when looking for their background is to define the group the habit belongs to. Psychologists usually distinguish four main groups of bad habits:
- They do not worsen your life or health, but may irritate people around, thus, making you feel confused from time to time. These habits appear because of nervous states or a necessity to do something caused by boredom. Also, rituals belong to this group. You may chump pencils or avoid even numbers – it isn’t a disaster, but it is better to live without it.
- This type of bad habits resembles the way of a person’s behavior in the society and is tightly bound with upbringing and environment the person lived in as a child. Constant swearing is a great example.
- They appear when a person is attracted to something and becomes addicted. Social life becomes secondary and a bad habit steals most of the time. Shopaholism and addiction to gambling belong to this group. In most cases, the only way out for people with such a problem is to replace the bad habit with a good one.
- This group of bad habits is the most harmful as it turns from a regular action into the need of your body in some substances. These obsessive habits have awful consequences in terms of health. They are drug addiction, smoking, alcoholism and solvent abuse.
It is pleaded that bad habits need a sufficient base, and that’s the reason why they appear. As a rule, it is thought to be some dissatisfaction, either realized or not. Possible backgrounds are when:
- A person doesn’t realize his/her needs;
- The needs are realized, but are considered to be of little importance;
- The needs can’t be satisfied due to an inability to use personal rights or overestimation of personal duties.
Tip 3: Timing Is the Formula of Success
Getting rid of an established bad habit abruptly isn’t usually possible. You aren’t to do it immediately – choose a term of about 30 days when all your willpower will be concentrated on changing. If it is rather strong, try to divide the process into stages, gradually reduce the number of repetitions and mark them on calendar. It’s also recommended to mark the starting point as it helps gather yourself up before a challenging task.
You shouldn’t procrastinate as well. You define some terms and can’t change your plan in process. Mark the corresponding achievements you get by the end of each term. For example, within one month you are to smoke two cigarettes a day, during another month – one cigarette a day, and after three months you should live without cigarettes at all. It’s also a great idea to make a journal and write down all the moments you consider important every day as it would help control gradual reduction of bad habit frequency.
Tip 4: Not Just Eradicate but Change
Bad habits are not bad at all. We develop them to get some feeling of comfort and safety, and they do bring it to us. While performing some obsessive action, try to notice what feelings you have got and think what other harmless actions can bring you the same satisfaction. Moreover, it’s useful to remember what negative things you get each time you practice your unwanted habit. However, try to avoid changing one bad habit for another (e.g. some smokers start eating too many sweets instead of smoking cigarettes).
You may go a pretty long way of efforts, but the main purpose is to find something which makes you feel good any time you face habit trigger and have no desire to get back to the obsessive habit. There must be only one substitution for one habit, otherwise, you might get confused. As soon as you find a proper alternative, you are to reward yourself. Actually, rewards are good anytime you achieve some improvement here. Let them be tiny but pleasant, so that you won’t fully depend on prizes but feel stimulated.
Tip 5: Promises to Fulfil
A great stimulant when trying to get rid of bad habit is giving a promise to yourself or your friends and family. We all want to look good, and that’s why you will try twice harder to keep your promise. You are also to make a system of rewards and penalties. As for penalties, it may be money paid to your friend each time he or she catches you red-handed, or any other action you consider to be challenging.
Tip 6: Professional Help
Some bad habits are impossible to overcome alone if you have got physical addiction, which is the reason of your habit. It’s not shameful to go to your doctor and ask for help. There are lots of medications available nowadays, and they are rather effective. A psychologist may be quite helpful as well.
You are to remember that bad habits make your life not only worse, but sometimes miserable. Only healthy lifestyle, but not smoking or drinking, is the secret of happiness and success.