By Nicole Tinkham
Whether you’re a smoker, an over-eater, or just can’t seem to keep your art room organized there’s a system that will help you break the bad habit and replace it with a good one. I’ll be honest with you up front and tell you that it won’t be easy. This will be a process, it will be difficult, and there will be times you’ll want to give up. Because you’re reading this post, I’ll assume that you’ve already made it through the hardest part, the decision to make a change. From here, you’ll want to identify your triggers to avoid slip ups, hold yourself accountable, and keep on pushing through when it gets difficult. I know you can overcome your bad habit, whatever that may be! Read on for 7 steps to turn a bad habit into a good one.
1. Make the decision to change
The first thing you must do to break your bad habit is make the decision to change. Sometimes we have a hard time recognizing our bad habits and even when we do recognize them, we can often feel like that’s just the way things are and always will be. We know how hard changing our habits can be and how much effort we’ll have to put forth. It can seem much easier to stick with the bad habit than to change it. In my personal experience, timing is everything. If you’re not mentally ready to take this on it’s best to just wait until you are able to get your head in the game.
2. Know what your triggers are
When you get in the habit of doing something (good or bad), there’s often a trigger that causes you to do that particular thing. It could be eating a snack when you’re bored or shopping when you’re stressed. Whenever you find yourself about to give into your bad habit, write down how you feel in that moment, what time of day it is, and what’s currently going on in your life. This should open your eyes to a pattern that will help you determine what triggers your bad habits. Once you know the cause, you can begin to make changes.
3. Make a promise to yourself
This time will be different! You will not go back to your old ways. You will make a promise to yourself and you will keep that promise. Write it out as if you already reached your goal. Visualize yourself cutting that bad habit from your life for good. The only direction you will move is forward. Now make the promise to someone else, someone you care about and respect. There’s no better way to stay accountable than telling someone else your goals. You wouldn’t want to let them (or yourself) down, would you?
4. Replace the bad habit with a good one
Habits aren’t all bad! There are so many different GOOD habits that can replace your bad habit. For example, you may consider exercising during your normal TV time. Remember we talked about triggers? If you continue to pick up good habits in place of bad ones, your triggers will eventually lead to the good habit and you’ll forget all about the bad habit. Give it a few weeks though; they say it takes 21 days to form a new habit.
5. Find a success partner
A success partner or accountability partner is someone who will push you to reach your goals. They won’t take it easy on you and let you slide. Instead they’ll give you a good dose of tough love to make sure you follow through with your promise.
6. Believe in yourself
Breaking your bad habits won’t be easy but it’s important to believe in yourself no matter how difficult it gets. The more you think you can’t achieve your goals, the more difficult they become. But if you believe that you can push through during the toughest times, then you will. Be your own cheerleader and keep your spirits high. You can overcome this!
7. Get right back on track when you slip
Don’t be too hard on yourself when you get a little off track. In life, there will always be slip ups but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on yourself. Instead, stop and get focused on your goal. Be sure to get back on track the very next day.
I strongly believe that all 7 of these steps for turning a bad habit into a good one are essential for success. You can’t just wing it. You have to get in the right mindset, make a promise to yourself and others, find someone to hold you accountable, believe that you can do this, and never give up! As mentioned it won’t be easy so be ready to take on this huge challenge. The key is getting through it one day at a time. You will get there if you keep pushing forward!