Have you tried to stop yourself from mindless shopping but when you went to the mall you came home with a lot of shopping bags filled with unnecessary stuff?
Or maybe you went to a Zumba class for 2 to 3 sessions and planned to attend regularly but never came back?
How about this? You went on a diet for a week and then go back to the old eating habits the following week? (I am also guilty of this.)
These are what occurs when breaking bad habits. I think these are just a few bad habits common to women. While for men, the most common bad habits are drinking, smoking, video games, and just sitting around.
What we are and who we are is the result of our daily habits. These habits are the product of the decisions that we do every day. That’s why it’s important to always make the right decisions.
If there’s anything that you want to achieve, first you have to know the bad habits that are hindering your progress. Eliminate those habits and replace them with good ones.
But breaking bad habits is not an easy feat because there will always be a few factors that can trigger these habits.
Factors that trigger habits
1. Location or Environment
I’ve learned in one of our courses in college that two factors shape our personality. One is genetics and the second is our environment. Your location or where you live is just one thing that comprises the environment. Where you live contributes to forming your habits.
Another part of your environment is the people around you. Are they good influences or bad influences on you?
If you live in a crowded area where there are many aisles with several houses in it, the culture here is different from exclusive subdivisions. People in congested areas most likely like to talk about other people and spread rumors, and frequent social drinking among men is commonplace. This forms a bad habit of gossiping and alcoholism. Breaking bad habits like these is very challenging.
Another example that I can of is when some Filipinos who are in other countries, like for instance in the United States, they follow traffic rules. They also do not litter. But when they go back to the Philippines, they violate traffic rules and they litter. This is because people adopt the culture of their location.
Though there are a lot of articles saying that to change yourself you must change your environment. I’ve also heard this from someone I know who is a guidance counselor. But for me, cliche as it is, change comes from within. More on that later.
Why do some people overeat? It’s probably because of stress, problems, or too much excitement in seeing an all-you-can-eat lunch or dinner.
Why do some people indulge in drinking spree? It’s also because of problems and stress. These are also the same reasons for drug abuse, shopping spree, and other bad habits. It has to do with certain emotions that trigger certain habits.
But I’ll just stick to the not so grave bad habits that are not life-threatening and can wreck relationships.
I want to talk more about breaking bad habits that you normally do every day. The smallest things that you do daily affect your entire day which affects your entire week, your month, and your future. I want to focus more on breaking bad habits to achieve the success you want in your life.
Steps To Breaking bad habits
You should be aware of the bad habit that is causing your lack of progress.
Do you have the habit of checking your email first thing in the morning or browsing social media before doing the major task for the day? Are you aware that when you check your email and respond to every single one could cut down your productivity?
Are you willing to stay low on binge-watching on Netflix so you can focus more on the e-book that you’ve been working on for almost a year already?
Are you willing to skip on carbs for a few weeks and get high on protein instead? Can you resist the invitation of your friends for social drinking if you’re cutting down on alcohol consumption?
Are you willing to stay away from online shopping websites so you can save up for an online course where you can learn a new skill?
Breaking bad habits is not something you can achieve overnight. But are you willing to make sacrifices?
If you want it, commit to it. Breaking bad habits is a decision. You have to be certain about what you want and how badly you want it. If you have a big why on why you want to break a bad habit, it makes it easier to stick to it.
If eating too much junk is already taking its toll on your health and you don’t want to be a burden to your kids, that would be your motivation to change your diet.
Those who are tired of being broke will break the habit of a splurge in shopping.
1. Start with small habits
The reason for this is if you make breaking a habit your goal and you do it at once without chunking it down into bite-size pieces, it might feel like torture. Chances are you will only go back to your old ways because you would think that breaking a habit is impossible. Why? Because you’ve set a big action that is probably too much for what you can actually do. Make small habits that are actionable.
For example, if you want to shed some pounds, you can’t just starve yourself. It’s just the habit of eating food with too many carbohydrates instead of fewer carbs and more on fruits and vegetables. See? You’re not eliminating carbs altogether, you just add more fruits and veggies and lessen your carb intake. Do this every day and you’ll develop the habit of eating healthier.
For those who immediately check on their phone first thing in the morning, get up at once, and start preparing a hearty meal for your family. Resist the temptation of checking your phone and divert your attention to the more important activity.
2. Increase your new habit
By just increasing 1% of this new habit every day would have a huge impact on your life. The power of these tiny gains said James Clear on building new habits will make a new habit stick.
3. Maintain the momentum
Keep it going to make it stick. Try to stay consistent in doing your new habit.
Do you notice that when you ride a bike on an uphill it’s difficult to push the pedal at first? But as you continue to pedal and you start to move forward, you continue to accelerate and then the ride gets easier and faster. And when you stop and try to hit the pedals again, you try to build the momentum all over again.
Tips to stick to New Good habits
Temptations to fall back on your old bad habits are always there. So here are some tips to avoid going back to your bad habits.
1. Stay away from temptations
As mentioned earlier, to change yourself you must change your environment. If there are a lot of temptations in where you live such as peers who play a big role in your bad habits, move to a different location if you can.
If you’re trying to eat moderately, stay away from dinner buffets and parties. You can also fill yourself up with light healthy snacks so you won’t eat too much at the party.
2. Stick to a routine
If you plan your day, you have something to look forward to. You will have your mind fixed on what you have to accomplish on that day because you have made plans. Stick to a routine that works for you so you have better control of your day.
3. Get busy
An idle mind makes a lot of room for negative thoughts. Do something worthwhile that will make your mind work so you would forget about your problems that can trigger bad habits. Develop a new hobby that you can do every day to relax your mind to refrain from thinking about your old ways.
4. Remember the pain
It’s not easy to start building new habits so why go back to the hardships that you went through when you were first starting out? Remind yourself that you already went this far and it’s difficult to start all over again. Remember my bicycle story.
5. Be Disciplined
Although this is another habit that you have to develop – the habit of being disciplined, it’s the most important determining factor in how long you can commit to the new habit. Discipline is required to achieve anything and if you fall short in this trait, you might fall back to your old ways. Discipline is the key to shun old habits and develop new ones.
Breaking new habits is a choice. It’s a decision that no one else will make but yourself. Because no matter where you live, or how good your environment is, it’s still up to you if you want to change or improve. At the end of the day, it’s your decision if you want to break your bad habits and develop a new one to make yourself a better person. Change comes from within.