We all have habits of one extent or another. Some are good habits and others are bad. A habit is some kind of action which we perform in the same way for the same reason in a routine time after time. When a habit starts to hinder or harm you however, it can be deemed to be a bad habit which is the point at which many of us will want to address the issue.
Changing Your Behaviour
The starting point at which you can attempt to stop a bad habit is to tell yourself that you want to get rid of the habit as opposed to saying that you ‘should’ get rid of it. Accepting that you want to change is a sign that you are determined to do something about it as opposed to simply recognising that the habit isn’t good but not committing yourself to doing anything about it.
You’ll need to identify when you tend to indulge in the habit and work out what is triggering this and also analyse just how the habit gives you pleasure or releases any tension you are experiencing as well as considering the harm the habit is causing you and how your life will improve as a result of stopping it.
You also need to ensure that you wish to get rid of the habit for yourself and not simply to please others. Once you’re able to do this, then you can make plans to change.
Plans For Change
It’s useful to devise a list which sets out the ways in which you will benefit from accomplishing your goal of getting rid of your habit. Work out what you need to do to reach your goal and break that down into action steps which will take you from point A to point B then on to C and so on. Set yourself a timeframe by which you’re going to accomplish each stage of your goal and keep a record of your progress.
It helps to give yourself a reward for each step you’re able to accomplish within the timeframe as this will motivate you to stick to your mission. Get other people on board to give you moral support. It’s all too easy to give up your goal if only you know about it. Having supportive people to help encourage you should also reduce your stress levels associated with what you’re trying to achieve.
Next, remove any temptations associated with your bad habit. If necessary, devise some obstacles to interfere with things which maintained your habit.
Keep a record of how well you’re progressing and always remember that your bad habit will have been developed over a lengthy period of time and so breaking it is also going to take time too. You may have the odd setback but simply view it as that and not as a sign that you can’t succeed eventually. Two steps forward and one step back is still progress so no matter how slowly your progress seems to be, keep on trying to move forward towards your goal.
Habit or Addiction?
It’s important to delineate between habit and addiction. To determine whether or not you have a bad habit or if you have an addiction to something, you need to ask yourself if you give up other things to indulge in your bad habit, if you continue with your habit even though you know it’s damaging to your personal relationships, if you have withdrawal symptoms or a sense of anxiety, depression or sadness when you’re prevented from indulging in your habit and if you need more and more of any substance to maintain a feeling of well-being. If you’ve answered yes to one or more of the above, then you’re probably addicted to something as opposed to simply having a bad habit and you’ll need to seek expert professional help and support as addictions are rarely beaten on will power alone, visit Beating Addictions for help advice on how to stop addictions.
However, whether it’s an addiction or simply a bad habit, with will power and help from friends and/or professional advisers, you can stop this behaviour and regain control over your own life.