Many people carry around bad habits that they've outgrown or that are stunting their growth. If you are someone who wants to break a bad habit, know that it can be done. The secret is to believe that you can do it and to come to the realization that your habit is causing more damage than good.
This can be challenging when you're used to doing something over and over. Even though the original reason for doing the habit may be long gone, if you're still giving energy to it, it's time to move on. Fortunately, there are some powerful ways to break bad habits. Here are some ways let go of bad habits for good:
1. Identify the problem.
The first thing to do is to identify the bad habit. This is something in your life that you do on a regular basis that is causing trouble or conflict. It could be anything from bullying other people to overeating to an addiction. Regardless of whether you feel you can control your habit or not, when you identify it, you become aware and put a spotlight on it. This is like waking up and taking responsibility.
When you become aware, you are longer in denial or defaulting just because that's the way you always do it. This is important especially if the habit is causing more harm than good. For many people bad habits are unconscious or cause pleasure only temporarily. Bringing a bad habit to the surface and facing it head on is critical.
2. Challenge the habit.
Breaking bad habits also means allowing change into your life. When you welcome change, your priorities tend to shift and you start to do things differently. Remember, you have to make new choices to make new habits. When you do this you're longer feeding the problem, but instead challenging it.
This might result in a complete lifestyle change or require a certain amount of pain or discomfort in the beginning, but it's worth it for a short time. Most people find that change is uncomfortable, but remember that your habit started with practice-and you can practice to get over it.
3. Stick with the decision.
Whenever you're breaking a bad habit, there are usually a series of challenges that for whatever reason put you headfirst into facing your habit. This is where an iron will to change comes in handy. Choose to create this iron will by sticking with your decision to stop the habit no matter what. That means if you slip one day back into the habit, you don't hold it against yourself, but learn and move forward.
As you stick with your decision, you'll automatically feel stronger and find yourself replacing your bad habit with better choices. Know that there is no specific timeline to adhere to, except the one you decide. Some people can quit smoking the moment they make the decision, while others waver, releasing the addition more slowly.
Also, keep in mind that like any change, breaking bad habits requires maintenance. It's unrealistic to expect that you can make a giant leap without some bumps along the way. Those bumps, however hard, are usually indicators that you're challenging old behaviors and ways of being, so embrace them and forge ahead.
No matter what habit you're trying to quit, it's a lot easier with strength and motivation, so surround yourself with whatever you need (i.e., support groups, reading materials, etc.) and give it time to break your bad habit for good.