4 Tips on How to Successfully Kick Bad Habits Once and For All
Habits are hard to break—especially the bad ones. Fortunately, there are ways to help you train your mind to control yourself from these urges and kick the habit for good. If you’re looking into getting rid of some, then you might want to try these tips:
Make it Easy for You to Achieve Your Goal
The more steps you have to take to reach your goal, the less motivated you are to follow through. That’s what experts found out through 2017 data that studied how far people travel to work out. The shorter the distance they had to travel, the more they go to workout sessions.
For those who averaged 3.7 miles traveling to and from the gym, they usually go at least 5 times a month. However, for those who have an average travel time of 5.1 miles, they tend to go only once a month. Those extra miles sure did make a lot of difference.
Especially for busy people, those extra distance is enough to discourage them from exerting effort to go and work out. This is what experts call “friction”, things that make people less likely to do a particular activity.
If you’re trying to kick procrastination to the curb, get rid of those time-wasting apps on your phone and arrange a dedicated, distraction-free workspace. If you want to eat less meat, sign up for a meal-delivery service that’s vegetarian-based. Eliminate or reduce those frictions that keep you from kicking the bad habit.
Repeat a Habit Until It Becomes Second Nature
When you turn on the signal light when you change lanes or kiss your partner or child goodbye when you’re off to work, you don’t usually think about it and there’s no decision required for you to do it. It’s just second nature, a habit.
Since you have done it, again and again, every day, your mind has been trained to do it. This is also what gets you up and off to work every morning, and you have your brain’s sensory-motor system to thank for it. This system develops your habit memory.
Try to use this mental system to work for you. Build good habits that you could repeat without much thought. Instead of reaching into a bag of chips while watching TV, try picking up an apple every night before you station yourself on your couch. It’s hard the first few times, but it’ll get easier once it gradually becomes a habit.
According to research, different behaviors may differ in the amounts of repetition needed before it becomes second nature. Incorporating fruit into your diet takes 65 days, drinking healthy beverages need 59 days, and working out needs 91 days.
Also, try to pair up your new habits to existing ones. Insert a 1-minute meditation sesh after your morning coffee, add sunscreen to your daily morning face care routine, or stretch it out before you hit the sheets. Your old routines will become prompts for your new ones.
Turn it into a Game
In introducing new good habits, try gamification to insert fun into your daily routine. Make it into a game. Instead of punishing yourself for not being able to accomplish your task or goal, reward yourself for every milestone you accomplish or the effort you made into achieving it.
An example of this is the use of FitBit. Users now celebrate hitting 5,000 steps instead of hammering themselves for not exercising enough. Being able to accomplish a goal makes you feel good, and therefore become more motivated.
Face Your Habit Head On
Mindfulness is the key to breaking bad habits. Stop yourself when the urge to do something that will not do you good pops up. Then, ask yourself why you’re doing it.
Maybe you’re not hungry, you’re just bored and want something to do. Being mindful about yourself and your habits interrupts the habit loop and takes back your power. It also helps you realize that what you were about to do doesn’t reward you at all.
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