A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.
What habits have you cultivated over the years?
Did they lead you to success or did they keep you back from your full potential?
Are you currently stuck in a few bad habits that you want to break?
We all have some bad habits now or at some point in our lives, and we often feel pessimistic about changing them.
Maybe you know you should spend less time using Facebook or playing games. You might have thought of quitting smoking, or taking up exercising but you haven’t started either.
Changing patterns or ingrained behaviors is not easy but it can be done.
In this post you will get a 7 step framework to change your bad habits to good ones and that will allow you live a successful life.
What are Bad Habits
Bad habits are behavior patterns that are considered negative. They prevent you from doing or being your best and adversely affect your health and well being. Some common bad habits are:
- Eating when bored
- Nail-biting when stressed
- Binge watching Netflix
The Importance of Changing Your Bad Habits
Changing your bad habits is an important step to achieving success.
Many of the decisions you make in your daily lives are not decisions- they are habits.
You continue to do what you have been doing for a long time, and that makes you less efficient, less creative, less healthy, and less productive.
Changing habits that are no more consistent with your higher purpose is indispensable to the quality of your life.
So, to bring excellence to your life, you have to change your bad habits into good ones because your life is essentially the sum of your habits.
Your current condition, your happiness, and your success are the result of your habits.
The things you do repeatedly ultimately make you the person you are.
How to Change Your Bad Habits to Good Ones
Here’s a helpful framework that you can follow to wipe out bad habits and cultivate new ones to improve your health and your life in general.
Identify the problem and the cause
The first step in this process is awareness.
You need to identify the habits that are preventing you from having the life you dream of. Be very honest with yourself in this step.
After you have identified your bad habits, you need to find out what are the underlying causes.
Each habit has its function, for instance, brushing your teeth is the first thing you do in the morning to prevent trips to the dentist. Checking emails is the first thing that you do at the workplace to schedule your day.
Similar is the case with bad habits.
They have a function too. Mindless eating or sleeping may comfort you out of stress or binge watching tv to avoid your partner or kids.
To get rid of any of your bad habits you need to ponder upon it’s function.
Deal with the problem
Relying on junk food all afternoon is the compensation for not having a proper lunch. Here, the function of eating whatever you have is to satisfy hunger.
To get rid of your negative habits, you should replace it with a positive alternative that satisfies the function of that negative habit.
That can mean having a healthy lunch at an appropriate time instead of satisfying your hunger with junk food later.
Change your environment
Changing your environment is one of the key principles that will determine your success in changing your bad habits to good ones.
Do you only engage in certain bad habits when you are with certain people? Do you tend to overspend only in certain stores?
Once you identify your environmental triggers you will be able to modify your activities and that will reduce your exposure to them.
Write it down
Make a commitment to yourself and write it down.
By writing it down it becomes more real and that will urge you to stick to it. Think of it as a contract. Put it in a place that will allow you to see it everyday. This will help you stay on track.
Get yourself a Companion
Most of the recovery programs involve group meetings, individual sponsors, or therapists. The reason is that being accountable to someone is a strong inducement to keep on keeping on.
Being accountable to a companion helps you stay on track. Knowing that someone believes in you will motivate you to stay on your path and not disappoint yourself or your companion.
Give Appropriate Time to Yourself
You have identified your bad habits and made a complete plan to leave or replace them with a good alternative.
Now allow yourself appropriate time to see the results.
Conventional wisdom states that it takes at least 28 days to kick a bad habit but each person’s journey and motivation varies. It may take more or less time for you.
The time required depends upon the habit, the level of stress, your nature and the support you have.
Own your Slips
Do remember that no one is perfect, and to err is human. So allow yourself room for slip ups. Don’t give up because you may fall off the wagon a time or two.
Every slip up gives you information:
- It tells you what kind of stressors get you off track.
- It tells you about your mistakes and lets you know what you need to do to stay on track.
- It tells you about what kind of changes are required to improve your performance in order to achieve your goal.
Think about why you slipped and how you can return to a point where you were happy with your progress.
Everyday is a new opportunity for you to improve yourself and change your habits accordingly to achieve your goal.
Changing a habit is not easy but it’s a crucial ingredient to living a successful life.
It’s key to understand however, that replacing a bad habit with a good alternative is a process and it takes time.
All that you need is to be determined and stick to the steps to implement good habits in your life and practice excellence.
How are you replacing your bad habits with good ones?
Share with me in the comments below.