We all have bad habits. At least that’s what we’ve heard. Some habits are harmless, but annoying — like those people who have the eye and nose twitch thing. Other habits are gross — like picking your nose every hour, on the hour. And then there are habits that can hurt you — like snorting shots of vodka up your nose. At some point, everyone must rid themselves of a bad habit or two and it can be a long road. Here are some pointers to help you break those habits and not make it such a horrible experience.
Exactly what bad habit do you want to get yourself out of? You may have many different ones — as humans kinda’ do — so focus on the specific ones you want to shed. This will allow you to focus and zero in on one or two specific bad habits instead of trying to juggle all of them at once. Besides, who can stop drinking, smoking, and quit junk food all at the same time?
Picture the Big Picture
The immediate may be fun or at least semi-okay with your bad habit. But you can’t keep doing this forever, right? Think about yourself a few years — or even months — down the road. How will your life be if you are still doing what you are doing now? Will you be a productive human being? Probably not. Stopping your actions now may squash some of your fun, but you will be better for it in the long run. Trust us wiser folk. Stop now and thank yourself later.
Get a Spotter
Tell your family and friends that you are trying to quit the habit. Co-workers can also help. They can keep you in check by daily reminders, calling you out when you are falling behind, or even throwing their shoe at you if that’s what it takes. Get help from those around you and you will always be kept on your toes. Purposefully get a couple of people on board that you know will be ball busters. That’s the best way to keep on it — when you know you have to answer to them.
Just Do It
Don’t procrastinate. This is one of the biggest hurdles when breaking a habit, or doing other things in life for that matter. You put it off, and put it off, and then tell yourself you’re going to start on Monday. Then by Thursday, you decide to start on the following Monday. It’s a vicious cycle, so you just have to cowboy up and get to cracking. The habit won’t break itself.
Procrastination is feed by all the clever excuses we come up with to not get to work on the habit. People continue to make up excuse after excuse why they can’t do something or shouldn’t do something — even though they know better. In fact, the list of excuses is ten times longer than the reasons to break the bad habit. Get a hold of yourself and stop making excuses. As soon as you find yourself giving a reason for not working on your bad habits, slap your own wrist. You have just made an excuse.
Challenge Yourself Reasonably
Some habits can be tough to break. Actually, most habits are tough to break. And if you tend to be lazy, breaking a habit can be almost impossible. Know if you are up for the challenge and set some goals you know you can reach. Trying to quit smoking during your busy month at work may not be the best time for you. Set reasonable goals. Keep reaching the smaller ones, then setting new goals. Pacing yourself will get you there even if it takes a while longer.
Track the Progress
You’ve set the goals and now want something to show you your progress. Keep careful notes of your accomplishments and the benefits you are getting from it. If eating crap food is the habit you are trying yo break, check off every day you accomplish that. Then make notes about how much better you feel. Or how much weight you are losing. Keep a chart where you will see it every day. Taped to your bathroom mirror, on your desk, beside your bed. Refer to it first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Breaking a habit with someone else trying to do the same thing is another great way to keep yourself accountable. The other person understands what you are going through and what you have to do to fix the issue. Your friends and family can keep you in check, but they may not get how hard it is to break out of your personal bad habits. Find someone that wants to break some habits, too, and join forces. Hopefully, at least one of you is strong and will keep you on task.
Get Some Relief
This is one of the more fun aspects of breaking yourself. Going cold turkey on breaking a habit can be awful and put you in a horrible mood 24/7. Allow yourself some downtime — one splurge meal, or two cigarettes a day instead of your usual three packs. It’s a little something to reward yourself and ease into quitting the habit for good. Of course, if your bad habit is biting your fingernails, don’t allow yourself two of those per day. That’s just gross and your nails will look uneven.
Don’t Stop Believin’
You gotta’ keep it up after the habit is broken. We don’t know the statistics on how many people go back to their old ways after breaking a habit, but we’d bet it’s pretty significant. You have to keep on it or else you can fall right back into the badness. Remember how hard you worked to get where you are and don’t let your guard down. Stress, vacation, and many other elements can make you fall back into your old ways, so always be mindful. Make your new ways a lifestyle and not some ‘kick’ you’re on. Stay strong.