4 Step Guide on Breaking Bad Habits in 30 Days
Most people today will probably admit they have a bad habit or two that they like to indulge in. Whether that bad habit is biting your nails, smoking cigarettes or anything in between, one of the worst things about bad habits is trying to break them. People have all different types of bad habits and struggle in different ways to break them. For many, the attempt to break a bad habit is an experience that can last weeks, months or even years.
The good news is, there is a way that you can actually start breaking these bad habits in just 30 days. Here is a four step guide on how to do it.
Step One: Set Yourself Up For Success
Before you start working on breaking your habit, you need to set yourself up for success. Start with a realistic look at the habit that you want to break and an even more realistic idea of what your goals are going to be for this 30 days. Be honest with yourself and write down what your goals are. Try to pick a habit that you actually indulge in on a daily basis. Otherwise, measuring your success over a 30-day period will be tricky.
From there, make sure you are in the right mindset. You are not just trying to avoid a habit for the next 30 days. You are putting yourself in an intensive “training” program for a month in order to rid yourself of your habit for the rest of your life. If you go into the process thinking you can go back to your old ways when you are done with this month, then you will never be successful.
Step Two: Acknowledge and Isolate Your Problem
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to trying to break their bad habits is that they are rationalizing too much. Rationalization is the process of trying to defend something that is indefensible. People often do it not only for other people, but for themselves. You need to acknowledge what your problem is and isolate it.
Do not let yourself get caught up in the why of forming bad habits. It is easy to say “I bite my nails because I’m stressed, because I don’t make enough money, because I have a bad job.” This gives you the impression that you will only stop biting your nails once you have a better job. Isolate the bad habit that you have. Acknowledge that you bite your nails and leave it at that.
Step Three: Replace the Habit
Typically, one of the best ways to remove a bad habit from your life is to replace that bad habit with a good one. Research has found that this is one of the most effective ways to permanently remove bad habits from your life. As you begin on day one of your 30 days of removing bad habits, replace your ritual.
If you normally drink a soda every morning on your way to work, replace it with water. If you tend to binge eat potato chips, replace them with strawberries. If you smoke in the evenings, replace that with a sucker. Replacing the bad with something good is one of the best ways to get your brain focused on positive actions, just as it did when you formed the bad habit in the first place.
Step Four: Track Your Progress
You will never see how far you have come unless you are able to track your progress. Set up a system where you can track how much progress you are making. Track your successes and make sure to start over if you have a failure or setback.
One popular approach is to have a jar sitting out somewhere that you can always see it. Every day that you go without indulging in your bad habit, but a coin in the jar. If you indulge in your bad habit, take the coins out and start over until you can go 30 days without doing your bad habit. It is a great way to keep yourself motivated and on task and to see how far you have come.
Most researchers say that most habits can be broken, if you are able to go without them for 30 days. Keep this four-step guide in mind as you work to break your bad habits. Just imagine what life could be like 30 days from now without those nagging, bad habits impacting your life and your ability to reach your full potential.