Want to break your unhealthiest habits, but not sure how to do it? Here are some hints which might help
Build an association between the habits you want to break and immediate negative consequences by ‘fining’ yourself whenever you slip up. You can either give away some money or force yourself to do something you don’t like – whatever makes you feel the sting!
Develop new, healthy habits
Some people find that breaking old habits is easier if you can replace them with new, healthier ones. For example, you could replace your mid-morning chocolate biscuit with a banana, or chew on nicotine gum rather than reaching for a ciggie.
Understand your triggers
When do your unhealthy habits tend to rear their ugly heads? Is it when you’re in a certain mood? At a certain time of day? In certain situations? Understanding when and why you’re vulnerable to giving in to your habits is an important step in breaking them.
Keep going, even when you fail
Ever slipped up on a diet once, then written off the entire day as a failure and gorged yourself accordingly? We’ve all been there! Honestly, though, that one initial slip-up probably wasn’t nearly as bad for your diet than the subsequent binge. Slip-ups are inevitable: the important thing is that you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on the wagon.
Work on your self-respect
Chances are that you’re trying to break these unhealthy habits for your own sake. That’s a lot easier if you love and respect yourself. We all work harder for people we love and respect, and that’s just as true when you’re that person as it is when it’s someone else. Get working on your self-respect and see how much easier habit-breaking becomes.
Alter your environment
This kind of harks back to the triggers thing we mentioned earlier, but it’s worth delving into. Familiar environments encourage familiar habits. Jolt yourself out of an established mindset by altering your environment. Change the furniture round, redecorate, generally shake things up a bit. It sounds absurd, we know, but changing your environment really can help you to change your habits.
This is easier than ever with modern technology. If you know, for example, that you’re prone to snacking at a certain time, you can set your phone to prompt you a reminder about your diet goals (or a stern warning!) at that time. Nagging from Past and/or Future You are surprisingly effective!
Remind yourself of the consequences of continuing as you are
What will happen if you don’t break these habits? Are you heading for chronic ill health, relationship issues, mental health troubles, or worse? Consequences can be a powerful motivating force. Remind yourself of why you need to change.
Remind yourself of the benefits of changing your habits
At the same time as reminding yourself why you need to change, it’s also good to remind yourself why you want to change. Ditching unhealthy habits is bound to have a ton of benefits. Go through them whenever you’re tempted to drop the ball, and firm up your resolution to have that bright, shiny future you're envisioning.