6 Steps to Breaking Bad Habits

breaking habits growth mindset habits mindset Jun 13, 2021

6 Steps to Breaking Bad Habits

Do you have a health and fitness goal?⁣

If yes - then you have a more important goal:⁣⁣

Form habitual behaviours that help you and ditch the bad habits that are holding you back — whether you want to believe it or not they 100% are standing in the way of reaching your goals!

What is a bad habit?

In his book, The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg explains that every habit starts with a psychological pattern called a “habit loop”.  The loop consists of a cue or trigger, routine and then reward.  The cue/trigger tells our brain to go into automatic mode.  

This can be something such as always reaching for a cigarette when you wake up or making a cup of coffee.  It’s a behaviour that neuroscientists have identified as being made in the basal ganglia part of the brain.  The smoking of the cigarette then becomes routine behaviour without really making the decision to do it.  

The reward comes from the satisfaction of performing the habit, whether it be a good or bad one.

For each of us a bad habit looks completely different to the person next to us — that being said the same steps can be done for EVERYONE to end the vicious cycle!

The Steps to Breaking a Bad Habit 

Step One: Decide to end the habit right now! 

Before you even continue on reading — think of a bad habit that you do and make a vow to end it RIGHT NOW.

Decide now. What habit do you want to break? 

Hesitation allows a crack for your excuses to seep through. Stop hesitating. Act now.⁣⁣

Step Two: Ask yourself what are the benefits of making this change.

Think/Write/Discuss: How will your life look differently if you drop the habit? And, what will happen if you don’t drop it?⁣

This is also an excellent journal prompt as well! 

Step Three: Be mindful and practise self-awareness

TRACK IT - what triggers the bad habit? When and why do you find yourself doing this behavior on autopilot?⁣

You can’t change what you don’t even know is happening.⁣ By tracking you will be able to see the warning signs ahead of time and get out of that situation OR find alternative HEALTHY coping mechanisms

Step Four: Talk to yourself (out loud or in your head!)

Tell yourself to KNOCK IT OFF⁣

Like actually, say it out loud.⁣

It weirdly works really well for me and a few of my clients. If you say it out loud then it is out there in the universe and you cannot take it back — even if it was just you who heard it.

The risk of looking like a crazy person is worth it! 

Step Five: Replace it 

Fire your current habit and hire a replacement⁣

What can you do instead?⁣

Craving a late-night snack (prob just because you want to, not because you’re hungry)⁣

Try grabbing some hot tea or flavored sparkling water instead.⁣

Step Six: Prepare for setbacks 

Don’t just decide: PREPARE⁣

Breaking a habit is hard work.⁣

It takes effort to get rid of something that is effortless.⁣

Setbacks will happen and the sooner that you can mentally prepare for them the better — so you don’t completely give up and give in to the habit! 

Note when triggers appear (step 3) and have an “if-then” plan for how to handle the trigger when it comes up.⁣

Overall What to Do 

OVERALL ... create friction. Make the bad habit harder to do⁣! We are all only human and they say to break a bad habit can take anywhere from 18 to 245 days.

Some habits will be easy and others will linger for the rest of your life — that is why it is imperative to have your “if-then” plans in place!

Remember to take it one day at a time and you will see a positive change!