Getting rid of your bad habits
I’m a big fan of The Big Bang Theory. I find the nerd humor really funny that’s why I make sure not to miss any of the episodes every week.
One of the lead characters of the show is Sheldon Cooper. A theoretical physicist who has a genius level IQ but totally lacked the basic social skills an average person has. He has difficulty recognizing sarcasm, shows lack of empathy, exhibits superiority complex and an obsessive-compulsive behavior among others, which usually serves as the center of the show’s funniest moments.
Another one of his funniest qualities is his inability to accept change. His daily life is already a routine in itself from the clothes that he will wear for a specific day to the food he will eat. There is already an assigned shirt or food for each day of the week. Everything is programmed. A slight change in the order of how he does things because of circumstances involving the people around him would set him off.
Just like Sheldon, we all have our own routines and habits. We all do things in the order we’ve been used to. Some would read the newspaper first thing in the morning while others check their emails as soon as they get out of bed. Some of us love to jog in the morning while some prefers to have a late night run. Some prefer to eat dinner in front of the TV while others love to eat at the dining table in front of the family.
Habits are defined as “a settled or regular tendency or practice especially one that is hard to give up.”
We all have good habits but then we also have bad ones like smoking, drinking, or excessive gaming. If we want to live a happy life, we need to drop these bad habits. But that is easier said than done.
Below are a few steps one can follow to get rid of bad habits:
1. Be accountable and learn to take responsibility
Most of our failures in life are because of our bad habits. You contracted lung cancer because you smoke too much; you’re in debt because of your bad spending habits; your marriage failed because you had affairs.
The first step to getting rid of these habits is to take responsibility. You are where you are because of you and your bad habits and not because someone or something brought you there. If you’re going to change, you need to accept what you’ve done and be ready to move on from it.Identify your purpose/goal
2. What is your motivation?
Are you doing it for yourself? Are you doing it for your family? Knowing why you are taking steps to change your ways will keep you motivated and driven.
Will you start exercising because you want to live longer for you to be with your family longer? Will you be starting a new diet plan because you want all your clothes to fit?
3. Come up with a plan
You need to look closely into how you’re going to break your routine. According to a Charles Duhigg’s best-selling book, The Power of Habit, a “habit loop” is made up of three steps. You have the cue, the routine and the reward. To start a new habit, you usually start by changing the cue.
For example, you tend to not finish everything in your plate because you have a habit of drinking a glass of water first before you start your meal. To change this habit, you need to set a new cue or trigger which in this case is you seeing a glass of water in front of you before you eat. Instead of doing this, you try to remove what triggers you from drinking which in this case is the glass of water. This time, eat first and then have the glass of water after.
You need to find out what triggers you from doing your routine so you can prevent the habit loop from starting.
4. Rally the troops behind you
Changing a habit is no easy task and you will definitely need a lot of moral support. Get your family and friends involved. The last person you need is someone tolerating your bad habits. You wouldn’t want your office buddy always asking you to get out for a smoke if you’re trying to quit wouldn’t you?
5. Celebrate the small wins
Changing a habit can become a long, tedious process and there may come a time that you may feel discouraged and disappointed because you’re not making headway. To keep you motivated in achieving your goal, celebrating the small wins will definitely help.
We have a recent blog post about celebrating small wins which you can read here.
If you’re addicted to online gaming, you may not be able to instantly remove it from your system so decreasing the hours of play each day would help. If you’ve been used to playing 6 hours non-stop, set a goal for the next day to play in 4 hours. Then 3 hours the next day. Each day you meet a goal is a big accomplishment on your part and will make you feel good about your progress.
6. Have complete faith in your self
Setting a goal of changing your bad habits would not work if from the very start you do not believe that you can’t do it. Be confident and don’t listen to other people’s opinions especially those who are discouraging. Go back to the reason you’re doing this and who you are doing it for. If you really want it, you can get it.
7. Don’t be afraid to experiment
If you think the changes you applied is not getting you to the result you have envisioned, try to experiment with different triggers. As long as it would lead to the same reward, it shouldn’t matter how you do it.
8. Stick to it
Once you’ve found what works for you, you have to stick to this new routine. Once you get used to it, traces of your old habits will no longer occupy your mind. You have to condition yourself that this is what’s best for you and this is what is necessary.
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