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20 Easy Ways to Break Your Bad Habits

Happiness

20 Easy Ways to Break Your Bad Habits

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We have heard that habits die hard. Changing habits can be difficult at times[1] and we all deal with this issue at some or the other part in our life. But changing yourself is not as complicated as it might seem to be. You need to be persistent and strong enough to break all the bad habits[2] and set yourself free to enjoy the life.From chewing your pen to biting your nails, smoking a weed to addiction of beer, Follow these simple tweaks to make your silliness a no-more-habit of your life.

ONE AT A TIME

Don’t try to change more than one bad habit at a time, and instead of concentrating on what you haven’t done, look at what you have done. Try to replace every negative behavior with a positive one[3] but only one by one.

THE OCCASIONAL SLIP IS OK

If you’re committed to changing a bad habit, don’t worry if you slip every now and again but make sure you don’t lax and allow too much slippage, or allow yourself to let slips be a reason to give up.

COME UP WITH A SLOGAN

Singing a positive slogan can help you harness the power of a bad habit because repetition of a phrase hardwires it into your brain[4]. Create a slogan such as ‘stay on track’ or ‘one step at a time’ and repeat it ten times a day to burn the thought into your brain.

ASK ADVICE

Talk to your partner or a close friend about how to reward your good behavior if you would be successful in quitting a bad habit – keep the reward reasonable and achievable;  so that you can stick onto it.

THE RIGHT SUPPORT

Before you discuss making a life change with someone, make sure you are choosing someone who will be supportive enough to make you feel good about yourself when you need it the most. Don’t ask a smoker for support on giving up, for instance!

GIVE YOURSELF A CHANCE

If it was easy to kick bad habits nobody would have any, so accept yourself the way you are and try to do better in future[5]. Chart your progress so that you can see how things develop over time and look back to motivate yourself. The habit will help you in the long run.

MOVE YOUR NOTES

Posting motivational notes[6] around the house to remind yourself to be positive is a great idea, but keep in mind that after a few days your brain will “background it” unless you move it to a new place.

KEEP THE CHANGE

To help you form a positive new habit, put ten coins in your left pocket and each time you remember to do your chosen thing, move one to the right pocket. When you have moved all ten several days in a row, the habit is formed.

DO IT FOR THIRTY

Focus on one change only for 30 days and during that time concentrate solely on that one thing and don’t try to change anything else about your life. After 30 days, move on to the next change, or take a break from change for a while. Trying to focus on several things is difficult and makes it more likely you’ll give up on all of them.

PULL THE TRIGGER

Come up with a trigger; which is a short ritual you link with a change to condition new patterns of your own behavior. Examples include snapping your fingers every time you want a cigarette if you’re trying to quit, or jumping out of bed as soon as the alarm starts if you’re used to sleeping in.

KICK ‘BUT’

Use the word “but” to help you change negative thought cycles. If you find your inner voice telling you that you’re bad at something[7], use “but” to make it positive like, “I’m crap at this … but if I keep practicing I’ll get better“.

PRINT YOUR PROMISES

If you’ve made a commitment to yourself to change, don’t keep it in your head where it could become warped or forgotten.

Writing down promises makes them harder to break as they tend to get settled in your subconscious.

KEEP SCHTUM

Studies have shown that people who talk about things to exhaustion before they do them are less likely to follow through. By all means discuss your chosen course of action, but don’t let words take over from actions.

BET ON IT

Motivate yourself to change a habit[8] by having a wager with a friend.

Making a public commitment and promising to give up something is agreat motivator for the tough times.

BE CONSISTENT

Make sure your habit is as consistent as possible and doesn’t require thought or  keeping it consistent will only allow the habit to get drilled into your subconscious instead of you having to remind yourself.

REPLACE LOST NEEDS

If you’re trying to give up a habit that gives you something.;like comfort eating or watching television to relax, bear in mind that the feeling you’re giving up will need to be replaced with an alternative behavior.

STAGGER YOUR REWARDS

If you’re trying to reinforce behavior; plait to reward yourself as often as possible in  the first week, then every week for a month and then every month for three months.

OH YES! YOU CAN

Be vigilant in your hunt for negative thoughts, like “I can’t do it”, and keep squashing them and replacing them with positives like “I can do it ,I am doing it“. If you think positive, you will succeed.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Don’t let the change in your behavior become a complicated biggie! Keep it to a few rules to help form habits and avoid confusions. Exercising every day for half an hour is easier to remember than a complicated weekly regime, for example.

MAKE LINKS

Try to link your rewards to your behaviour change. If you’re replacing smoking with exercise, for example, use the money you would have spent on cigarettes to buy yourself new exercise gear, a gym membership, or a sports massage.

You aren’t bad, Habits are bad. Make sure you follow these simple steps to get rid off them before they eat you. To motivate yourself read how Calvin is Mahatma Gandhi of Present Era. A lesson for you to learn form Calvin.

References:

[1] Judith L Bowen, MD, Stephen M Salerno, MD, MPH, and Suzanne Brandenburg, MD. Changing Habits of Practice. J Gen Intern Med. 2005 December; 20(12): 1181–1187. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0248.x PMCID: PMC1490278.

[2] Vemana G, Andriole GL. Bad habits may be hard to break. Eur Urol. 2013 Mar;63(3):426-7. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2012.11.044. Epub 2012 Nov 27.

[3] J.M Johnston, Richard M Foxx and James A Mulick. Positive Behavior Support and Applied Behavior Analysis. Behav Anal. 2006 Spring; 29(1): 51–74. PMCID: PMC2223172.

[4] Morrow D, Leirer VO, Carver LM, Tanke ED, McNally AD. Repetition improves older and younger adult memory for automated appointment messages. Hum Factors. 1999 Jun;41(2):194-204.

[5] Latessa R, Colvin G, Beaty N, Steiner BD, Pathman DE. Satisfaction, motivation, and future of community preceptors: what are the current trends? Acad Med. 2013 Aug;88(8):1164-70. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31829a3689.

[6] Oliver C. Schultheiss, Michelle M. Wirth and Patricia Reuter-Lorenz. Exploring the motivational brain: effects of implicit power motivation on brain activation in response to facial expressions of emotion. Published online 2008 October 8. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsn030. PMCID: PMC2607053.

[7] Wendi F. Cross, David Seaburn and Eric D. Caine. Does Practice Make Perfect? A Randomized Control Trial of Behavioral Rehearsal on Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Skills. doi: 10.1007/s10935-011-0250-z. PMCID: PMC3249637. NIHMSID: NIHMS324090.

[8] Per Nilsen, Kerstin Roback and Per-Erik Ellström. Creatures of habit: accounting for the role of habit in implementation research on clinical behaviour change. Published online 2012 June 9. doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-7-53. PMCID: PMC3464791.

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