How to Break Your Bad Habits for Good
No matter how healthy you are or even how healthy you'd like to be, we all have a few bad habits we should break when it comes to our health. They're usually easy to make (and hard to break), and that's why so many of us have them. To truly break them though, we need to get ourselves into gear and realise what we need to change to be happier, healthier people.
We've looked at some of the best tried-and-tested techniques out there to try and finally kick some of these bad habits for good, and get you on the right path for a healthier 'rest of your life'. No one said it would be easy, so don't shoot the messenger if you don't get it the first time!
Let's run through it:
Want to move fast? Jump to the right section below.
- Identify the Bad Habits
- Think About Why You Want to Stop
- Identify Your Triggers
- Keep Trying
- Keep It Up
- Reward Yourself
1. Identify the Bad Habits
So, before you do absolutely anything else at all, you need to come to terms with what your bad habits are. Whether you're here because you want to stop eating unhealthily and become a healthier person, quit smoking, or even stop biting your nails so much, it doesn't matter. This is general advice that will work for anyone, and the first stage of any change in your life has to be realising what the problem is. You need to look at what you are doing and whether or not you and others think it’s a bad habit. That makes sense
2. Think About Why You Want to Stop
Step 2 is figuring out why you want to stop (or why you should want to stop if you're not already there yet). This is something that's unique to everyone, and there are always different reasons for people's choices in life. This is usually to do with things like wanting to make a healthy change to life, or even better financial decisions. Whatever your reasons to break your bad habit are, they're yours and yours alone. Try your very best to find as many as you can and pick the most important to you. You need to think about the long term for you to have the best possible chance, and when things get tough, these will be on your side.
3. Identify Your Triggers
For the majority of us, we have triggers for our bad habits. Whether you know it or not, there are little things in life that are probably triggering your bad habit, or even allowing it to continue. It could be something like a habit of having a cigarette when you get to your car, biting your nails when you get bored or anxious, or even just procrastinating a workout because you drive past your house on your way home from work. It doesn't matter. What does matter is that you come to terms with what the problems are. Once you've done that, you know the obstacles that you have to overcome, and you can make a conscious decision to avoid whatever you're about to do.
Now that you know what you want to quit, why you want to, and what makes you do it, it's time for the big guns. Take 1; trying to change. With any luck, this will be the only thing left between you and breaking your bad habit, and when you try and change, you'll change for good. For many of us, it doesn't always work like that, but when you finally give up making excuses for yourself and come to terms with wanting to change enough to try, that's a huge step in the right direction. No matter what happens, whether it's one workout or a 6-month plan, you've done a great thing and helped to push yourself in the right direction!
5. Keep Trying
This one doesn't always apply, and it depends entirely on how the step above went. For most people, breaking a bad habit just like that is not quite that simple, and you may well not manage it the first time around. You're only human, and as the old saying goes, you only fail when you stop trying. The best thing to do is to evaluate what’s gone on. Why have things gone wrong, and what made you do it. Whatever it was, realise it and make a change, try to avoid that pitfall again, and try again. Keep pushing until you nail it! You can do more than you think, even if it's just cutting out the junk food!
6. Keep It Up
After all is said and done, you’re still not out of the woods yet. Whether you nailed it on your first try or on your fiftieth, it doesn't matter. The only thing stopping you from going back to your old ways is you. Now you're not the person that used to skip the gym; you're the person that doesn't skip the gym. You need to enjoy life without the bad habit even after you break it, and make sure you keep it up in the long run! It's hard work, but the worst is well and truly over if you can make things routine and enjoyable!
7. Reward Yourself
One last thing you need to look at is how you’re going to reward yourself for your awesome work. If you manage to quit something that’s bad for your health and made a change for the better, then you definitely deserve a reward. Find something to do with the time, the money or the effort that you save and celebrate the change you've made! Treat yourself to a new, healthier habit, or buy something you've wanted for a while. Do whatever you can to help reinforce the positive changes you've made and enjoy your progress!
Breaking a bad habit and making a better one is never easy, or you wouldn't need to be here. Everyone has their bad habits, and the only person that can change them is you. Do whatever you can to make things easy for yourself and remember to just keep on trying. There's always a reason to want to change, and it's never an easy thing to do. You can do whatever you set your mind to, and with a good diet, regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, you're well on your way to being a better you.
All of the information we’ve looked through is based on theories from a model called the transtheoretical model of change. For some serious science, feel free to check it out yourself! We don’t make this stuff up!
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.