We all know bad habits are a hindrance in our life long achievements. At every step they stop us from what we want to achieve. They jeopardize our existence mentally and physically and lead to the wastage of our time and energy.

The question is, if a habit is bad and we know it, why do we still have it? Is there anything we can do about it?

The key to it is replacing a bad habit, not eliminating it. It’s just like applying nicotine patches to quit smoking and giving up smoking all at once. Most of our bad habits stem out of boredom and stress. For example, surfing the internet or watching TV relieves us from our boredom, but at the same time they also cost us time. Lighting a cigarette in a stressful time is a bad habit that somewhat eases our nerves, but it’s a bad habit that taxes our health. But it doesn’t imply that bad habits are useless. Our bad habits address a need and if we can can replace these bad habits with good habits that address these needs in the same way our purpose is pretty much served. So just getting rid of a bad habit and not doing it at all for a longer period of time would not be helpful, instead it would be a constant stress on our brain and our body.

Selecting a substitute for a habit is necessary.
We have to plan ahead of time, what are we going to do when we have an urge to smoke ? What are we going to do when we feel the need to surf the internet unnecessarily? One could attempt to try and replace smoking with deep breathing exercises, internet surfing could be replaced by writing something useful instead.

So whatever it is and whatever we are doing, we have to have a good substitute for that habit.

Cutting out the triggers that cause the development of bad habits.
For example, if a person smokes whenever he drinks, he needs to stop going to the bar.  If a person has habit of picking up the remote control just when he sits on the couch, he should hide the remote some place before he sits there.  If a person eats all the cookies when they are available at home, he needs to throw or better yet give them all away to avoid the urge to eat them all.

Joining forces with another person who experiences the same problem.
When we know there is someone there with us through a problem we are able to control ourselves better. Achieving the same results together brings about a sense of celebration at every step and is a potent motivator for habitual change.

It’s important to surround yourself with people who live the way we want to live.   Not, implying that we should give up on our old friends, but finding new compatible ones is very helpful.

Visualize your success.
If you wish to give up smoking, picture yourself crushing a pack of cigarette, picture giving up any bad habit that you want to get rid of and then enjoying that success. This motivates you to a great degree and is helpful.

You don’t need to be someone else to change your habits.
So often we think that breaking our bad habits would turn us into someone entirely different. You have it in you to be the person you are without your bad habits. For instance, a smoker does not need to quit smoking rather he should of getting back to being a non-smoker. It’s all about getting back to the real you. No matter how long ago it was, before you developed that bad habit there was a time you lived without it. That means that you have the potential to do without it again.

Use the words but and let go of negative self judgment. It’s very common to feel we are not able to do better and judge ourselves negatively. The ability to be optimistic about things is in itself a great gift and should always be held onto in tough times. Using words to connect our negative state with the state we wish to achieve is very useful.

For example. I’m fat and out of shape but I am slim and in shape in a couple of month. This optimism and visualizing of yourself doing well is a very necessary step towards wanting to do better.

 

Article Author: Smiljan Mori is the founder of MindOver™ Network, Brilliant solutions for Performance, Motivation and Happiness. He is also the creator of Big U Academy, , the Kitepreneur NetworkTM and Kitepreneur Lifestyle Academy. He has literally created a successful business and coaching empire from scratch and is a best-selling author and motivational speaker who brings unparalleled professional experience and the latest scientific research from neuroscience and positive psychology to audiences around the globe. He has shown more than 150,000 people from 50 countries how to change their lives for the better.

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Article References:
Motivaction For Life by Smiljan Mori

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