I talk about bad habits quite frequently, but it is one of my favorite topics to learn about. This is the time that I can improve myself little by little, and bring everyone on the journey with me. Honestly, I try to write about events that are happening in my life as much as possible. They are my sources of inspiration, an this week’s inspiration came from Ed Sheeran’s song “Bad Habits” and I may be listening to it on repeat as I write this blog. Props to Shaun for dealing with my madness.
Here is what I learned from the internet on breaking habits.
We have to start with why the habit started in the first place. This involves the 3 r’s:
1. Reminder – This is a reoccurring event that triggers the habit
2. Routine – Behavior that goes with the reminder
3. Reward – Dopamine release from following the routine
Logically, we will start with the trigger. For a few days, track your habit and pay attention to what happens before and after it occurs, and how it makes you feel. Observe how you are reacting with the habit, but don’t judge yourself. Think about thoughts, feeling and action towards that habit. Once, we identify what the trigger is, then we can stop the habit from occurring. After identifying the trigger, think about why you want to stop this habit. If there isn’t an emotional connection with the “why,” then it will be harder to break it.
In some cases, you can replace a bad habit with a good one. If you want to quit smoking, instead of going outside to smoke on your break, you go and take a walk. Something simple that can distract yourself from the bad habit. Another, simple trick is to leave yourself reminders. You can either leave yourself post-it notes, or have the good habit accessible. For example, I want to be on my phone less and I spend my whole lunch break on my phone. Now, I make sure to bring a book with me to work and I take it out at lunch. I now have replaced my temptation of my phone with a book that I am interested in.
Give yourself a break if you have a setback. We are all human and can’t be perfect 100% of the time. So, be prepared and accepting of the small setbacks and be honest to yourself if they happen. Identify why it happened and make adjustments to your strategy if you need to. Remember the accomplishments you have made thus far and not about the “failure” you may have had.
If you want to break multiple habits at once, see if they go hand in hand with each other. I want to spend less time on my phone, and not spend so much time on the couch. Well, most of the time that I am on the couch I am on my phone. If I start not letting myself sit on the couch, then I can clean my house for a little bit instead. This starts the trend of breaking two bad habits, and replacing it with one good.
Don’t forget to reward yourself as you are going along your journey. This can be reminding yourself that you are doing a good job, or buying yourself a new book. If you stay focused on the progress you made, and keeping positive the journey can only be easier from there. The last main thing to remember, is that it takes time. It took time to start those habits, and it will only take time to stop them as well. Just keep swimming as Dory may say.
From your Life Tutor
Inspiration for today’s blog is from