Breaking Bad Habits
BREAKING BAD HABITS
Whether it’s smoking, overeating, procrastinating, we all have bad habits we would love to get rid of. How should one go about this? Here are some tips to get you started.
Realize the Reward of Your Bad Habit
If you have a bad habit, it is because you are being rewarded for it in some way. Find out how your bad habits are rewarding you, and then you can figure out how to replace them. For example:If you smoke, you are rewarded with stress relief. If you overeat, you are rewarded with the taste of food. If you procrastinate, you are temporarily rewarded with more free time.
Impose a Punishment or Remove a Reward for Your Bad Habit
It’s time to cut the cycle of getting rewarded for bad habits. You need strong willpower for this step. You have to commit to either imposing a punishment or taking away a desired reward when you relapse. For example, if you overeat, you have to give up dessert the rest of the day or add 10 minutes to your next workout. The reward or punishment you choose should be relevant to the habit.
Have a Replacement Ready
Now that you have figured out how you are getting rewarded, you need to figure out a replacement habit that offers the same reward without the weakness of your bad habit.
Use a Mix of Small and Large Rewards
Reward yourself early and often for staying away from a bad habit. Don’t restrict yourself to large, infrequent rewards. Smaller, more frequent rewards provide better incentives.
Tell Others about Your Goals
When we tell others about a goal and we do not follow through on it, we are “punished” with shame and a feeling that we let other people down. While shame isn’t necessarily the perfect motivator, it can be very effective.
If you tell your supportive friends about your goals you are more likely to stick to them, since you do not want to have to tell your friends that you failed.
All the best.