“I have promised myself to change. Starting tomorrow. But the next day, I just keep doing the same thing. I keep making the same habits just like yesterday. Why can’t I stop doing this to myself? Why can’t I change? How can I get out of this habitual cycle?”
These sentences may relate to many of us. No matter how serious we pledge about starting the diet tomorrow or waking up earlier to do daily exercise starting tomorrow, it never happens. It feels like no matter how hard we put our determination to it, we just can’t make it happen. A pledge is nothing more than words.
A habit can be summed up as a routine or regular behavior that gets harder to give up the longer that behavior goes on. People who develop positive habits can be categorized as having a “rational addictions”. For example, the morning rituals, or the morning habits, like brushing teeth, taking a shower, making tea, etc. These sequence of behaviors can become consistent for people after such repetitions, thus become a pattern. These kinds of healthy habits can only arise, though when people are more aware of their own behavior.
However, there are also bad habits. And the bad ones are always the hardest ones to break and they are dependent on our mental and emotional state. All of the habits that we have right now, good and bad, are in our lives because of something. In many cases, your bad habit is a simple way to cope with stress. For example, biting your nails, pulling your hair, or tapping your fingers. Because bad habits provide some type of benefit in your life, it’s very difficult to simply eliminate them.
The reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult because:
- Lack of awareness and acceptance.
- No motivation or feeling blocked.
- More serious underlying psychological conditions.
- Bad habits make us feel good because we never have to walk out of our comfort zone.
- Upward comparisons.
- Feeling of stagnation.
- Stress and depression.
- Sense of failure.
- The need to be all-new.
The good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, effort, perseverance, and you need to be as consistent as you built up those habits at the first place. One simple way is: we don’t eliminate a bad habit, we simply replace it. So, here are our tips on breaking the bad habits in this matter:
- Identify the routine. Accept our flaws without judging it even further.
- Acknowledge your behavioral pattern and habits.
- Prepare mentally. Replacing an old behavior or habit is not as easy as it may seem, but also not an impossible thing to do.
- Enlist support. Although you are your biggest cheerleader, a good amount of support from a friend and family member can be significantly boost your spirit.
- Reward yourself for small steps, but practice delaying gratification. Gratification is an important factor in habit-forming.
- Maintain a goal-oriented, long-term mindset. A “healthy” goal that is achievable.
- Always be yourself. Never try to be anyone else.
Most people who end up breaking bad habits try and fail multiple times before they make it work. You might not have success right away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have it at all. Remember that your effort is worthy and the more consistent you work on it, the closer you are to your goal.
“Breaking Bad Habits“. http://www.newsinhealth.niv.gov.
“How to Break a Bad Habit and Replace It With a Good One” by James Clear. http://www.jamesclear.com.
“Why Bad Habits are So Hard to Break” by Rylee Morris. http://www.mindsoother.com.
“10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits is So Difficult” by Leon Ho. http://www.lifehack.org.