Breaking Bad Habits in 5 Steps

Breaking bad habits made simple. We do not go out looking for our bad habits. One day we see the destructiveness of our habits. Some we tell ourselves are harmless, like watching too much tv. Even more serious ones like smoking, drinking, and overeating, we can justify them with social proofing. Over time we see how these behaviors hold us back from accomplishing our dreams. 

Your behaviors, minor or significant these five steps to breaking bad habits will work. You can defeat them and become the person you always wanted to be.

The Five Step Formula

  1. Why does the habit exist? The stage has been set when we either become stressed or bored. Discovering the triggers is invaluable in figuring out how to the best way to change your patterns. Take a week and look hard at yourself. Use a pen and paper to write down when you slip into your undesirable habits. What was going on right before you slipped into the habit? What does this tell you about yourself?


  1. Get motivated. What are the new behaviors you would like to replace the old ones? What are the benefits of changing? These benefits are important. Write them all down. These benefits need to be heartfelt to keep you motivated and on track. Visualizing yourself as a success is a large part of the motivation. Develop a clear picture of how the new you will look. It will be you in short order. You can do this!


  1. Develop an action plan. You have your desired goal written down. Without a plan on how you will achieve the goal, you will fail. Setting goals are great, but you’re going to fail if you don’t also establish how you’re going to get there. Make achievable steps that you can measure. If you want to stop overeating, one action could be to have a list when you go food shopping and only get what is on the list. Then stick to the list.


  1. Check your Progress. Do not drive yourself crazy with how you are doing. Set up regular times to review your progress. Remember, you are breaking bad habits. These patterns have been ingrained over a long period.  When you slip, get back on track. Beating yourself up will accomplish nothing.  Adjust your plan if necessary, but do not quit.


  1. Do not do it alone. Using an accountability partner is a potent tool. You can easily talk yourself into relaxing your goals. Being accountable to someone else give you the strength to stay the course. If you need professional help, then, by all means, get expert advice. How you get the job done is not the important thing. It is breaking bad habits and installing new ones in their place. While these steps are simple, they are not easy. It will take all the discipline you can muster.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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