Whether we like it or not, we’ve all got bad habits (and many of us have far more than just one). Whether it be smoking, unhealthy eating habits, or spending too much time on social media, you’ve probably got a habit you’d like to get rid of. This post is all about helping you eliminate a bad habit in just five steps.
There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.
Start With One Habit
When you’ve finally decided you’re ready to kick a bad habit, it might be tempting to swing for the fences and eliminate all of your bad habits at once. As appealing as it sounds, force yourself to pick one bad habit that you want to work on first. Like anything else, you’re likely to get overwhelmed and burnt out if you try to implement too many things at once. So just choose one habit that you want to eliminate first, and try incorporating a second only after you’ve successfully avoided the first for a full month.
Identify Your Habit Triggers
A really important step in eliminating a bad habit is identifying what triggers the habit. Many bad habits (such as smoking or excessive snacking) are the result of stress or anxiety. Next time you find yourself falling into your bad habit, take a moment to think about what preceded and triggered it. Even if the trigger isn’t something you can eliminate from your life, at least you’ll be aware so you can be better prepared when you’re triggered in the future.
One of my bad habits for a long time was ordering takeout or grabbing fast food on the way home several nights per week. This was almost always the result of having a busy, stressful day and not having planned a meal in advance. Now I always keep food in the house that I can eat for dinner without having to cook so I have no excuse to stop for fast food, even after a busy, stressful day.
Replace It With a Good Habit
The best way to kick a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit! If your bad habit is waking up late every morning and having to rush to make it out the door on time, then try to implement specific steps to creating a new positive morning routine in place of your old routine.
Mornings were always a big struggle for me until I took specific steps to fixing it and putting a new habit in place. The biggest thing that helped me with this was reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, where he talks you through creating a positive morning routine for personal development and improving your mornings and your entire day. Replacing my bad habit of disorganized mornings with a new, very specific habit was what finally allowed me to make a change!
If you haven’t read The Miracle Morning, I really recommend checking it out!
Make an Accountability Log
I know a lot of people who use habit trackers to keep themselves accountable for keeping up with their good habits, so why not try the same when it comes to kicking a bad habit? You can do something as simple as making a note on your calendar each day that you slip up. You could also go so far as to make notes about what triggered the slip and what you’ll do differently in the future to avoid it. If nothing else, this is a way of forcing yourself to acknowledge returning to your bad habit, remind yourself of why you wanted to kick the habit in the first place, and better prepare yourself for next time you’re triggered.
Recruit a Support System
Whether it’s incorporating a good habit or breaking a bad habit, making big life changes is always easier when you have a support system. If you have a friend who is trying to kick the same habit, you could be accountability partners. Either way, having a friend to talk to about it is great for staying accountable, as well as dealing with any stress or lack of motivation you might be feeling. Your friends and family want you to be happy and healthy, so they’ll be happy to support you while you work to eliminate unhealthy habits.
What bad habit are you trying to eliminate this year? Have these steps worked for you?