How to Break Bad Habits Fast – Five Easy Steps to Quitting any Bad Habit

Bad habits can be hard to break simply because they are what they are - habits.  I want to break all my bad habits so did some research and found a sure way to break bad habits fast.  Using these steps to stop bad habits, I quit smoking in just two weeks. These steps to stop bad habits actually work. We have all tried to quit whatever bad habits we have, whether it is nail biting, drinking, smoking, overeating, watching too much television, taking drugs, overdoing anything, procrastinating.

Naturally, some habits are tiny and may be inconsequential to others while other habits turn into serious addictions that can result in illness and death.  Your bad habits may not be as bad as mine or vice versa, but if a habit is bad, it is worth getting rid of.  I have used these five steps to stop several bad habits from smoking to procrastination.  They worked for me and I am a highly addictive person, so it is likely they can work for you too.

STEP ONE - WRITE ABOUT YOUR HABIT

  • Why do you do it?
  • When do you do it?
  • What makes you want to do it - what triggers it?
  • What is bad about the habit?
  • What is good about the habit?
  • What are the benefits of quitting the habit?
  • Keep a log of when you indulge in the habit

STEP TWO - MAKE A LIST OF ALTERNATIVES TO INDULGING IN YOUR HABIT AND CHOOSE A HABIT REPLACEMENT There are healthy alternatives to any bad habit.  I chose drinking water and eating baby carrots to stop smoking.  I happen to love baby carrots and eating one or two takes about as long as smoking a cigarette.  You have to find something you like to replace the habit with.  Eventually, I got tired of baby carrots, but by then, I was well off the cigarettes. Every time I felt like a cigarette, I either drank a glass of water or popped a few carrots. Find an easy replacement that you like, preferably, one that is healthy.

STEP THREE - SET YOUR DATE AND MAKE YOUR PLAN Decide the date you want to quit.  Write it down.  Tell everyone!  Make the commitment and don't waver.  Prepare yourself with your replacement activity and imagine yourself without the habit.  Imagine yourself without a cigarette, or with beautiful fingernails if you bite your nails.  If your habit is overeating or drinking, imagine yourself fit and healthy. Use visualization to see yourself without the habit.  This works with things like habitual procrastination as well.  Imagine how it would be if you had everything done you need to have done on a regular basis - how much less stressful life would be. Write down your goals : Goal : Quit smoking by (Date) Desired Result : Quit smoking and get fit Method : Vegies and fruit as replacement for cigarettes (gum too).  Daily walks and exercise.

STEP FOUR - WORK YOUR PLAN AND REWARD YOURSELF Start working your plan.  Reward yourself on a weekly basis for the first month with tangible rewards. After the second month give yourself a big reward. You can decide on whatever you like, make sure the rewards are something you want and something you don't regularly do.  If you always go out to dinner, the reward of going out to dinner may not be that special.  Think of things you want or would really like to do but haven't done for whatever reason. Make a reward list.  Do not reward yourself if you have not quit your habit, obviously.

STEP FIVE - PRACTICE HEALTHY LIVING In order to deal with stress factors or triggers that result in bad habits, a healthy lifestyle is a must.  You want to live a balanced life and dispense with habits that are hurting you.

  • Exercise regularly, you can go for walks, go to the gym, do Yoga or Tai Chi, ride a bike, swim.  Do whatever you enjoy, but make sure you exercise regularly.
  • Eat properly.  Eat healthy foods, you don't need to go overboard, but try to eat as healthily as you can.
  • Do things you love, take time to enjoy your hobbies, friends, whatever it is that makes you happy.
  • Find ways to love your job or get a new one - even the worst job has benefits (like getting paid) - make the best of it.
  • Work on your spiritual life, whether it is simply meditating each day or practicing a religion, take the time each day to meditate or pray and give thanks.
  • Get involved.  Volunteer for something, do something for someone else on a regular basis.

Bad habits are just that - bad habits and quitting is hard because the habits become ingrained.  Habits are triggered by events or emotions and you need to know what triggers your habits.  You need to beware and be aware of triggers and the negative impact of your habit.  Replace your bad habits with good ones - after all, a habit is just that and if you have things that triggered your bad habits, why not let them trigger good ones?

I really enjoyed this talk by Leo Babauta on how he overcame his bad habits and much more.  You might enjoy it too.  You might also want to read The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, an excellent book on how to overcome bad habits as well as the basis for our habits.

Let me know how you have dealt with your habits.  I'd love to hear your stories.