We're creatures of habit and sometimes those habits could be detrimental to our quality of life. Bad habits are like the weeds of the garden of our minds. Whether we are consciously aware of them or not, we gain and lose habits all the time. Sometimes those habits stay with us for a long time. But in life, nothing is permanent. Things change. Whether our lives change for the good or bad, it's up to us to consciously decide. You could weed your garden any time. You first just need to decide to do it.
Here are five easy steps to completely stop a bad habit.
Step 1: Remove the roots, not the leaves
When we look at our bad habits it's easy to focus on our actions instead of our motivators. Sometimes we don't know why we have those habits in the first place. Get to the root of your problem and address that first. I recognize this is easier said than done, but it's important for you to identify and articulate why this habit exists in the first place.
Step 2: Forget the habit
Remove the triggers. Eliminate the environment(s), people, and opportunities for you to relapse back into your bad habit. Want to stop smoking? Throw away the cigarettes and then remove all the ashtrays and lighters around you. Imagine what your life would be without that habit and change your surroundings to match that vision. Ex just moved out of the apartment? Get rid of anything that reminds you of her to help you get over it. Simply forget.
Step 3: Always have a choice
Remember that you always have a choice. There is no gun to your head forcing you to relapse. Remember that you can walk away and stop instantly because you have a choice. Think of what you could be doing instead.
Step 4: Count each day like the last
Forget your streak, and treat everyday like the last. Remember the freedom of overcoming your habit and make each day count.
Step 5: Look for supportive strategies
Ask for help. Join support groups. Spend time with supportive friends and family members. Pick up a new hobby. These are all great strategies to effectively support you on changing your life.
Ok, I admit I may have downplayed how difficult overcoming bad habits can be. A significant chunk of the work all happens in the brain. Your brain is literally changing as we develop new habits and reinforcing old ones. A healthy brain and body plays a key role in your mental fortitude which is exactly what changing a habit is all about. In case you haven't noticed, that's why all five steps to completely stopping a bad habit is completely mental.