Breaking Old Habits - 5 Proven Strategies That Are Often Ignored

Everybody has habits, and they are not intrinsically bad. Some are pretty handy — perhaps you lay out your work clothes the night before or have your illuminations habitually switch off when you exit a room. However, some behaviors, including chewing your nails, taking coffee too late in the day, or repeatedly pushing snooze, may be detrimental.


Breaking bad habits may be challenging, especially if you've been doing them for a lengthy period. However, knowing how patterns arise helps facilitate the process.

Anything potentially damaging to us is a harmful habit — drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, and poor communication are all examples. These practices are detrimental to our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Human beings are programmed to react to stimuli and anticipate the consequences of their actions. This is how habits are formed: the brain expects being rewarded in a particular way under particular conditions. How you first respond to specific stimuli determines how your brain will always remind you to behave in the future when those same stimuli are encountered.


Getting rid of harmful behavior patterns and staying away from them needs a great deal of effort, and there are several reasons why this is so tough.

Here are five surprising techniques that will assist you in achieving success.


Make Negative Habits Visible

If you want to develop healthier behaviors, the most excellent strategy is to make them prominent. This method also applies if you're attempting to break harmful behaviors.

Cues play a severe role in the growth of habits. James Clear proposed the use of Habit Scorecards in his book Atomic Habits. It is a simple activity that assists you in developing an awareness of your regular habits.


First, jot down a list of your daily routines in chronological order. Then, you provide a rating to each behavior, indicating whether it is "effective," "ineffective," or "neutral." This method is critical since it aids you in determining the significance of each habit to your progress.


After creating a list of habits, the next step is eliminating the negative ones, which brings us to the next point.


Begin with the straightforward

Everybody desires to effect change as quickly as possible. They wish to exercise for one hour each morning, contemplate for twenty minutes after continuously meditating for five minutes, and adopt a nutritious diet.


The difficulty is that achieving any larger aim will always demand considerable willpower. Willpower, like muscles, is a kind of energy. It grows fatigued as you use greater force. And when it retires, you will abandon your quest for success.


The optimal strategy is to eliminate the single objective and then proceed toward a larger one. You might begin by addressing minor to significant undesirable habits.


Establish a New Environment for the Development of Positive Habits

Numerous studies demonstrate that our environment affects our behavioral patterns. The underlying principle is that you rely more on what you see (visual signals) than on other modes of perception. Without a doubt, this is why optical signals shape our behavior.


To break negative habits, you must emphasize positive cues that promote beneficial behaviors. Another strategy is to establish new practices and avoid stimuli that reinforce negative ones. Avoiding temptation will be more complicated than resisting it.

For example, if you want to read more books than watch TV, store the remote control in another room and place books throughout your home and workplace.


Recognize the Negative Consequences of Poor Habits

Severe repercussions follow bad practices. According to WebMD, unhealthy behaviors harm practically every organ in the body. They can result in cancer, stroke, emphysema, diabetes, heart disease, and bronchitis, among other conditions. Poor behaviors can raise one's risk of developing eye difficulties, TB, and various immunological illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis. When you're aware of the effects of your poor behaviors, it's easier to break them.


Reduce your chances of engaging in your negative behaviors

I've encountered folks who believe that breaking a bad habit is all about 'willpower development' and that you should continue living your life as usual - with all the regular temptations. While I agree that breaking a bad habit is a test of willpower, minimizing temptations is a far better course of action.


We exaggerate our capacity for temptation resistance. However, research indicates that people who avoid temptations are more effective in establishing new habits. Individuals who maintain a fruit dish on their kitchen counter weigh less than those who show more food.


If you sincerely wish to overcome a harmful habit, do not underestimate the strength of temptations. Consider your immediate environment — your home, your job, and any other location where you spend time and may be tempted — and eliminate what you can. Turn off the Internet if you wish to spend less time online. If you want to quit gossiping, minimize your time with gossipy people.


The ultimate goal is to remove all other options and establish your new habit as the default. Maintaining a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter and a stack of cut-up veggies in the refrigerator, and not having any other snacks in the house will ensure that you munch on only healthy foods. If you're looking to exercise in the morning, consider sleeping in your gym attire. When you get up, you don't have to decide whether or not to go for a workout that morning; you go.


Final Thoughts

Breaking bad habits may be challenging, especially if you've been doing them for a lengthy period. Knowing how habits arise helps facilitate the process. James Clear's Habit Scorecards are a simple activity that assists you in developing an awareness of your regular habit patterns. The optimal strategy is to eliminate the single objective and then proceed toward a larger one. To break negative habits, you must emphasize positive cues that promote beneficial behaviors.


People who avoid temptations are more effective in establishing new habits. Individuals who maintain a fruit dish on their kitchen counter weigh less. Keeping a fruit bowl and cut-up veggies in the refrigerator will ensure you munch on only healthy foods. If you're looking to exercise in the morning, consider sleeping in your gym attire.

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