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How to Break Free From Bad Habits -- for Good

Do you ever get stuck in a rut of bad habits that just won't quit? Like biting your nails, putting things off, or doing unhealthy stuff? It's so frustrating to feel like you're your own worst enemy. But there's good news - you can break free from those bad habits. With the right mindset and strategies, you can kick those habits to the curb and start being healthier and more productive. I'm going to show you some awesome techniques to help you break free from your bad habits and start living your best life. From being mindful and reflective to setting attainable goals and getting support from friends, there are some simple steps you can take to make lasting changes in your life. So if you're ready to say "peace out" to those bad habits, let's go!

Understanding Bad Habits

Sometimes we do things that aren't so great without even realizing it. We all have our fair share of bad habits, whether it's biting our nails or eating too much. The thing about these habits is that they become part of our daily routine and can be triggered by situations or emotions. If you're someone who snacks when you're stressed, you might find yourself reaching for junk food whenever you're feeling overwhelmed. To kick these habits, you have to figure out why you've got them and what triggers them.

Why Breaking Bad Habits is Difficult

Breaking bad habits is no joke. Our subconscious mind is powerful, and it takes a lot of courage to go against it. Plus, bad habits often have an emotional or situational connection, which makes it all the more difficult to kick the habit. Like, if you always binge-watch TV when you're feeling blue, it's hard to resist the allure of a good show during those rough patches. But hey, don't let that discourage you - with some effort and determination, you can overcome any bad habit!

Steps to Breaking Bad Habits

Let's explore some steps you can take to make lasting changes in your life.

Step 1: Create a Plan to Break Your Bad Habit

The first step in breaking a bad habit is to create a plan that outlines your goals and the steps you will take to achieve them. (I love a good plan!) Your plan should include attainable goals and a timeline for when you will start and finish your habit-breaking journey. For example, if you have a habit of procrastinating, your goal might be to complete one task each day for the next 30 days. Find a time management method that works for you, and use it to your advantage. Make it as easy and as simple as possible to ensure the best possible outcome.

Step 2: Identify Your Triggers

The next step is to identify the triggers that lead you into your bad habit. Triggers can be anything from stress and boredom to specific events or situations. Once you have identified your triggers, you can start to develop strategies for avoiding or managing them. For example, if you have a habit of snacking when you're stressed, you could try practicing mindfulness or deep breathing exercises to help you manage your stress in a healthier way. Or when you find yourself reaching for that bag of Doritos, pause and ask yourself why you want them, are you even hungry?

Step 3: Replace Your Bad Habit with a Healthier Alternative

The next step is to replace your bad habit with a healthier alternative. This could involve finding a new activity to replace your old habit, such as going for a walk instead of snacking, or finding a healthier way to satisfy the same need, such as drinking water instead of soda. Whatever you choose, make sure it's something that you enjoy and that satisfies the same need as your old habit. And to make it a bit easier, you may want to find an outlet for your bad habit. Like, you're going for a walk when you're stressed instead of snacking, but you can still allow yourself to have a light snack after you complete a task.

Step 4: Seek Support from Others

Breaking a bad habit can be challenging, but it's much easier when you have the support of others. Reach out to friends and family, or a local or online support group for help and encouragement. Community is powerful, and building a supportive community around your habit-breaking (and healthy habit-forming), will go a long way to help you along your journey. Also, you're not alone. Chances are one of your friends or family members needs your help as much as you need theirs.

Depending on your needs, resources, and dedication, you can also hire a coach or therapist who specializes in habit change to help you stay motivated and accountable.

Step 5: Celebrate Your Success and Keep Moving Forward

Lastly (but not least-ly), it's important to celebrate your success along the way and keep moving forward. Breaking a bad habit is a journey, not a destination, and it's important to acknowledge and celebrate your progress along the way. Whether it's treating yourself to a special reward or simply taking a moment to reflect on your progress, make sure you take time to celebrate your success and stay motivated to keep going.

Tips for Staying Committed to Breaking Your Bad Habit

Breaking a bad habit is not easy, but there are several tips and strategies you can use to stay motivated and committed to your habit-breaking journey. Ironically (or not), many of these tactics are the same tips to turn self-doubt into confidence.

Tip 1: Practice Self-Compassion

Remember that breaking a bad habit is a difficult process, and it's important to be kind and compassionate to yourself along the way. If you slip up or have a setback, don't beat yourself up. Instead, acknowledge your mistake, learn from it, and keep moving forward.

Tip 2: Use Positive Self-Talk

The way you talk to yourself can have a big impact on your motivation and commitment. Instead of using negative self-talk, such as "I can't do this" or "I'm not good enough," use positive affirmations to encourage and motivate yourself. For example, you could say, "I am capable of breaking this habit" or "I am strong and determined."

The words you use in your mind are powerful -- and they can be used for good or evil. Think about the difference between: "I crave these chips," and "I don't need these chips, but I want to have a few right now." Who is in control in these 2 thoughts? How are your thoughts controlling you?

Tip 3: Visualize Your Success

Visualizing your success can be a powerful motivator. Take some time each day to imagine yourself breaking your bad habit and achieving your goals. Use all of your senses to create a vivid mental image of what it will feel like to be free from your bad habit.

Athletes use visualization all of the time to help them gain the confidence to see themselves as successful in their goals. I remember visualizing races with my cross-country teammates in high school and the feeling of community and support it brought us to know that we were in this together. That we can succeed, and wanting to bring that feeling to life.

Tip 4: Track Your Progress

Keeping track of your progress can help you stay motivated and committed to your habit-breaking journey. Use a journal or app to track your daily habits, and celebrate your successes along the way. Seeing your progress in black and white can be a powerful motivator to keep going.

Tip 5: Stay Accountable

Finally, staying accountable to yourself and others can help you stay motivated and committed to your habit-breaking journey. Share your goals and progress with friends or a group member and ask them to hold you accountable.

The Role of Accountability

Accountability is key to breaking bad habits. When you're accountable to yourself and others, you're more likely to stay committed to your habit-breaking journey. There are several ways to stay accountable, including:

Accountability Partner

An accountability partner is someone who is committed to helping you achieve your goals and hold you accountable along the way. This could be a friend, family member, or coach who you check in with regularly to discuss your progress and challenges. Often both partners are accountable to each other for something.

Support Group

Joining a support group can also help you stay accountable. Support groups provide a safe and supportive environment where you can share your struggles and successes with others who are going through the same journey.

Tracking Tools

Using tracking tools, such as a journal or habit-tracking app, can also help you stay accountable to yourself. By tracking your progress and celebrating your successes, you can stay motivated and committed to your habit-breaking journey. You can even download apps that will ping you with a notification any time you're falling behind (this may or may not be motivating to you -- so know yourself, and do what works for you).


Setting consequences for yourself can also be a powerful motivator. For example, if you have a habit of overspending, you could set a consequence of not allowing yourself to buy anything non-essential for a week if you overspend. The consequence should be something that is meaningful to you and that will motivate you to stay on track.

Consequences don't only have to be negative -- positive consequences are inherent in breaking bad habits, but perhaps you need a bit more oomph at the beginning. So give yourself a little extra reward for meeting a goal or breaking a barrier.

Celebrate Your Success and Move Forward

Breaking a bad habit is not an easy journey, but it's also one that can be incredibly rewarding. As you make progress and overcome your bad habits, make sure to take time to celebrate your success and acknowledge how far you've come. Whether it's treating yourself to a special reward or simply reflecting on your progress, celebrating your success can help you stay motivated for your habit-breaking journey. And remember, breaking a bad habit is just the first step towards building healthier, more productive habits in your life. Use what you've learned to continue growing and improving, and keep moving forward toward your goals.

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