We are all humans made up of habits, every day we are wired to do something even without having the consciousness to think of it. These small actions that accumulate from the time that we became conscious of our own decisions that compounded over the year are what we called “Habits”.
There are good and bad habits, and often times we have our own internal battle on how we can choose to fight and changed our bad habits into good ones. However, the worst thing are those habits that we got used to that we don’t even recognized or became aware that we are doing it.
Since habits are already wired into our daily routines, IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO BREAK old bad habits. It was just the reality that it became part of who we are. But the good news is, although bad habits cannot be break, IT CAN ALWAYS BE REPLACED.
We have identified some ways for us to replace these bad habits into good ones. But before that, we need first to understand these bad habits.
We have to see beyond ourselves and be aware of why we are doing it. We have to look deeper into ourselves and ask ourselves what causes us to do it. Like for example, why do you bite your nails? Do you feel scared whenever you’re doing it? Are you stressed? You must look beyond yourself and assessed what caused or pushed you to do it.
For those that have deeper reason, like child trauma and the like. I suggest that you talked with professionals who can help have a clearer understanding of what causes that habit or behavior.
You can do the following things if you wanted to break those bad habits:
1. Identify the triggers
All habits have triggers, you may not noticed it yet but if you observe your habits thoroughly there is always a sequence that you unconsciously follow. According to the book Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg, habits have the following sequence or what was called as the “Habit loop”;
- The cue or trigger – This is the part of the loop wherein it serves as a signal for you to perform the certain action.
- The action – Once the cue or trigger has been identified this is the specific action you will do. This is the specific action that can I either be good or bad, this is basically your habit.
- The reward – This is the part of the loop where your brain receives some chemical such as dopamine (also known as “happy hormones”). This is the part where our brain allows our body to register the action and record it in our body as part of our habit.
You need to identify the trigger, like for an instance if you have this habit of eating every afternoon and you wanted to change it. You need to understand and identify what’s your trigger, is it just because you wanted to have a walk and ended up going to the pantry or kitchen. It can also be that you are bored at that time. You need to observe your own actions in order for you to fully see your cues or trigger.
Once you have identified it, you can easily manage the next step which is you action towards it. Identify first your cue or trigger for you to have control over your bad habits.
2. Find an accountability partner
When it is pretty tough for you do it alone. You can always ask someone to call your attention whenever you are doing it. This person should be someone that you spent with the most of your time. They can help you be reminded on the actions that you unconsciously do and slowly change it.
In addition, they can also act as someone that you have to commit something that you would or wouldn’t do about your habit. This allows you to become more committed in doing your bad habits as you are forced or had gain the responsibility to be more aware of what you have or shouldn’t do. Unlike on the first part, this accountability partner would be better if it is someone that you are too comfortable as it would be easy for you to NOT FULLY COMMIT YOURSELF IN DOING OR NOT DOING IT.
This can also be explained when it is a lot easier for you to say and commit to your family that you will start exercising and lose weight than with a stranger. There is this fear that holds you back from easily saying it with a stranger, and that’s why it is a lot more effective if you will commit yourself to break these bad habits with someone you are not too comfortable with.
3. Track it.
This may kind of a weird suggestion, but it is just the same with how you plan for good habits, wherein you are tracking your progress and listing down the days that you missed or done it. For your bad habits, you also have to do it too.
At the end of the day, they are all habits that you formed throughout or at some point of your existence.
Tracking you progress in not doing this bad habits allows you to build the momentum and keep you reminded on what you shouldn’t do. This helps you be more aware that you shouldn’t do it in order for you to break those habits.
However, remember that whenever you failed to do it as it was expected that you too will stumble and will not be able to do it for some day, you need to remind yourself that you can just recoil and build again the momentum.
The common problem in tracking habits are those times that we felt like “since I already missed it, maybe it is better to just stop it completely” or “I can’t really change it, so I will just stop this”. Don’t be a downer and just focus in building the momentum until you have finally replace it with a better one.
We often forget that changing habit is not easy as we thought it was, since we build this for years and years of our existence. Remember that it has to be taken slowly and don’t expect that you can change it overnight.
Once you got the chance to do any of the three above, the end goal for it is to replace it with something better. Replace it with some good habits that will change your life significantly. Always remember that BAD HABIT CAN NEVER BE BROKEN IT HAS TO BE REPLACED. You need to replaced it with good habits that will add value to your life and to you as a person.
HABIT BUILDING IS A LIFE-LONG JOURNEY for each of us, who wanted to see a better version of ourselves. Join me in this journey of self-improvement as we both grow and build the habits that will bring us to be the best person we ever wanted to be. Always, remember that you should never give up in breaking bad habits and keep pushing yourself in creating better ones.