If you have realized that you are addicted to something or that you are allowing a bad habit to rule your life, rest assured that there are ways to break a bad habit and free yourself. The first step to this healing is acknowledging that you are dealing with a bad habit. Then, open yourself up to powerful ways to break a bad habit.
1. Surround Yourself with Others Who Live the Life You Want to Live
One of the most powerful ways to break a bad habit is to surround yourself with people who lift you up and encourage you to live the life you want to live. Whether that be a drug-free life, an alcohol-free life, a stress-free life, or a judgment free-life, make a mature decision to let go of whatever people or situations are keeping you stuck in your habit. At the end of the day, you are who you hang out with. If you want to free yourself, it’s best to surround yourself with a different group of people.
2. Choose a Healthy Substitute
By nature, the human body will want to be attached to something, whether it’s a food or a drink or a comforting activity therefore, rather than using up your precious time and energy feeding the bad habit, choose a healthy substitute. Maybe you’re trying to give up smoking – in order to satisfy the craving, drink an energy drink or pick a healthy snack to munch on. It will distract you, maybe not very well at first, and give you something else to focus on.
3. Discover Your Triggers and Cut Them out
Why is your habit harming you? What’s holding you back from quitting? Figure out why you picked up on the bad habit to begin with and work on clearing your emotional triggers. Maybe your parents got into a fight and you picking up a beer made you feel numb to reality and therefore your subconscious mind associated drinking with numbing the pain. Reprogram your thinking: rather than associating drinking with numbing the pain, tell yourself that drinking is destroying your body and is only a temporary band-aid. Your subconscious mind will begin to shift the way it views your bad habit.
4. Create Barriers
If you make it difficult to give into your habit, you will feel less inclined to go do it. Turn to a friend or parent whom you trust and set a realistic and achievable way to begin creating barriers to your habit. If you want to cut down on smoking, entrust someone to monitor your cigarette intake; if you want to stop drinking, have someone monitor your supply in the fridge; if you want to stop biting your nails or eating sugar or spending too much time on Facebook, whatever it is, create a barrier that will make it difficult to turn to your habit.
5. Focus on Breaking One Habit at a Time
Do not overwhelm your brain. Focus on breaking one bad habit at a time. Sometimes figuring out which habit to break first or feeling overwhelmed with the dedication it will take to BREAK all of your habits will discourage you altogether. Take it nice and slow. Test yourself first: which bad habit is hurting you the most or getting in the way of school/family/friends? Start with that one. You will break any other bad habits in due time. If you can master one, the other habits will be easier to break.
6. Congratulate Yourself when You Resist Temptation
What do you give a dog when he/she does a trick? A treat, right? What makes a human any different? We all love to get rewarded when doing a job well done. Feeling a sense of purpose and of accomplishment is an amazing feeling. So, make sure to congratulate yourself when you resist temptation: go get your nails done, go buy a new pair of shoes, go shopping…whatever it is that will give you a feeling of accomplishment!
7. Team up with Someone
You don’t have to go through this journey alone. How many of your friends are going through a similar problem? How many family members are dealing with the same bad habit? Team up with whoever it is that you are closest too and help each other overcome the bad habit. I would also suggest to add in a third party who is not dealing with the same bad habit – make that person the “accountability partner”/the person you go to for comfort.
8. Believe in Yourself
It doesn’t matter what other people think or say about you…YOU need to care about what you think or say about yourself. Believe that you are stronger than your bad habit, because you are; believe that you are able to rid your life of all toxins, because you are. The more you compliment yourself and the more you boost your ego, and tell yourself that you are the master of your own life, the easier it will become to let go of your bad habit.
9. Be Patient
Don’t forget to be patient through the process. Letting go of something can be very difficult and sometimes painful. Breaking a bad habit will not happen over night…it may not even happen over the course of one week. But remember this: you can’t lose 10 pounds after one day at the gym, right? You need to be patient and dedicate time to going a few times a week for a while before you start to see the results. But it doesn’t mean the results won’t show; it just means that in order to SEE the results you must learn to be patient and dedicated to reaching your goal!
You ARE stronger than you think. You are amazing and you need to love yourself no matter what, with or without your bad habit. The choice is yours, though, whether or not you will follow through and actually do something about breaking your bad habit. Just know that I believe in you and am encouraging you make the decision to break yours today! What is a bad habit you’re trying to break?