Bad habits are hard to let go of, especially if you don’t know where to start. So, from here, I’ll walk you through some simple ways how you can remove bad habits and lead you to a better life.
Removing bad habits start in the simplest way you could do regularly.
You can begin by reminding yourself of your bad habits, identifying their triggers, and providing an escape plan when there’s a trigger. Transforming your environment, prioritizing self-care, making new and healthier habits, surrounding yourself with the right people, and practicing positive self-talk.
All these are simple yet effective ways once partnered with consistency and commitment.
Whether it’s a simple bad habit like biting your nails or more complex issues like an addiction, the first step towards changing any behavior is identifying the root cause.
Once you know what’s causing your bad habits, it gets easier to figure out how best to eliminate them.
Believe it or not, there are a dozen ways out there that could help you break bad habits and create new ones! But before we talk more about those details, let’s first discuss the common reasons people develop and maintain certain behaviors.
What You Will Learn on This Page
Where do bad habits come from?
We all have one or a couple of bad habits that we wish we didn’t have.
And while they might be hard to get rid of, they don’t just appear out of nowhere! They’re actually a combination of different factors.
Here are some common causes of bad habits.
- Lack of sleep
If you’re tired and groggy, staying focused on what you’re doing can be challenging, making it easier for your mind to slip into autopilot mode. That’s when a bad habit can creep up on you without you even knowing it.
Stress is a tricky thing. Many different factors can cause it, but it all boils down to one thing, your brain doesn’t know how to handle the situation you’re in.
When you’re stressed, your brain works overtime figuring out what’s happening and how to get out of it. But since it doesn’t know what’s going on, it has to make guesses, which might not always be correct. That’s where bad habits will start to come and entertain you.
Boredom involves being unable to find something to do or not having access to the things that would help you feel engaged and challenged.
When that happens, it’s natural to seek ways to alleviate your boredom, which might mean avoiding bad habits like drinking alcohol or overeating junk food.
Another reason boredom can cause bad habits is that it makes you want to escape your current situation.
When we’re bored, we often feel trapped in our own minds and bodies; we don’t like where we are at the moment, so we look for ways of changing our circumstances quickly.
- Too much energy
Having a lot of energy can be great, but it can also be a double-edged sword. When you have a lot of energy, it’s easy to get distracted by all the possibilities available.
You might start working on something and then think about all the other things you could be doing instead.
That can lead to some bad habits in and of itself.
Simple ways to remove bad habits
Bad habits are not easy to break. They are like the glue that keeps your life together, and the second you stop doing them, you feel like you’re about to fall apart.
But don’t worry because there are some things you can do to help yourself get rid of those pesky habits, and guess what? They don’t involve a lot of time or money!
Remind yourself of these bad habits.
Are you aware that the average human has over 60,000 thoughts daily? That’s a lot of thinking, and it can be hard to track them.
But if you’re trying to change your habits, like stop biting your nails or stop binge-watching Netflix, it’s important to remind yourself of your goals.
Here are some ways to stay on top of your bad habits.
- Put reminders around your house, on your study or work table where you’ll see them regularly.
- Set a reminder on your devices that pops up every day simultaneously.
- Write down your reminders in a notebook and carry that around with you all day long.
- Write down some notes about why you need to break this bad habit.
It’s hard to remember bad habits, even worse, when trying to change them. But it’s essential! You need to be aware of what your bad habits are so that you can start working on them.
Remembering is one of the first steps in changing your behavior because if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong, how can you fix it?
Identify the triggers and cut them out.
The best way to overcome a bad habit is to identify the triggers that cause it. Once you know what sets off the behavior, you can then take action to prevent yourself from being triggered in the same way again.
Just see how these examples work!
If you feel like biting your nails when stressed, write down everything that makes you stressed. It could be the following triggers.
- Sitting in traffic
- Running late for work or school.
- Upcoming recitation or presentation
Solution: When you find yourself feeling stressed out or anxious, instead of biting your nails, do something else instead, like listening to music or anything that will calm your hands.
Another example is your habit of eating junk food after work every day. The trigger for this habit could be the following.
- Stress from work
- Not having enough energy to cook dinner.
Solution: When you get home from work, your body is craving something sweet and delicious because it hasn’t had anything since lunchtime!
So instead of getting cookies or chips as soon as you walk through the door. Try reaching for something healthier, like fruit or nuts, and see if that makes a difference.
Transform your environment.
Your environment is crucial to your habits because this is where triggers and other factors are present.
A study by Tam and Guerrero-Wit investigated whether moving the students to a new environment could break habits. It includes 115 college students from Duke University.
They transferred the students to Texas A&M University. They had the students filled a questionnaire a month before and after the transfer.
Here’s what the study has found out.
- Moving to another and new environment can promote new habits.
- An environment can trigger students to make different or new decisions in their daily routines.
- Students didn’t repeat the habits they had in their previous school in their new school since they no longer have the cues.
The same idea applies to you in changing your bad habits.
It doesn’t have to be as big as moving. For example, you can remove the things that trigger you to make bad habits, such as the junk food on your fridge, the television in your bedroom, and a few more.
You need to prepare not only yourself but also your environment. Ensure that there would be fewer triggers around you.
Prioritize self-love and self-care.
When removing bad habits, always put yourself on top.
Ask yourself these things before doing something or making decisions.
- What do I think about this action? Is it healthy for me?
- Will it benefit or ruin me in the long run?
- Is it a good or bad thing to do?
All these questions will lead you to double-think about yourself. One strong motivation you could do to remove bad habits is to think that it’s for your own good and not for others.
This is especially true when discussing bad habits concerning eating, drinking, and other addictions, putting your health at risk.
Believe it or not, if you don’t stop those bad habits today, the time will come that your body will need to pay for it. So, if you want happiness in your old age, stop your bad habits as early as today.
Make new and healthier habits.
You can’t remove bad habits; you can just replace them.
Removing habits that have entertained you your whole life can be painful. So, why not come up with excellent and beneficial replacements so you can get distracted from the old ones?
Here are some of the healthy habits you can try!
- Always start your day with breakfast.
- Spend your time planning your meals.
- Spend 10 minutes every day walking.
- Sleep as early as possible.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Challenge yourself by learning new skills.
- Listen to music that can give you a better mood.
- Exercise regularly.
Surround yourself with the right people.
Like your environment, people around you play a crucial role in removing bad habits.
You can choose people who’ll tolerate you doing bad habits or people who will help you go away with it.
But what do we mean by the right people? Here are the signs!
- Share the same goals as you.
- Motivate you to push good habits.
- Give you a helping hand when needed.
- Offer wise advice and hear you.
- Provide emotional support.
- Celebrate your wins without getting jealous.
- Willing to help you learn new things.
- Patient with your mistakes.
- Ready to take responsibility for their own actions and errors.
- They know what they’re good at and let you do what they’re good at too!
If you’re trying to remove a bad habit, you must be around people who will support you in your efforts.
For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, your friends and family mustn’t get on your case about it.
If you’re trying to stop drinking too much alcohol, they mustn’t encourage it. And so on.
You need a group of people who will help you stick with it! This doesn’t mean that the people around you are wrong if they don’t support your efforts. It just means that they aren’t going to help you reach your goals.
Practice positive self-talk.
Self-talk is a powerful tool for anyone looking to change their habits.
When you find yourself engaging in your bad habit, pause and ask yourself what you’re telling yourself about that behavior. Are you calling it stupid? Making excuses for why it’s okay for you to do it?
To help you with this replacement process, here are some examples of positive self-talk to keep in mind.
- “I can do this.”
- “I’m better than I used to be.”
- “I’ve got this!”
- “It’s okay if I mess up.”
- “I’ll be better at this next time.”
- “This will be good for me.”
- “It will be worth it.”
- “This is just a phase, and I know it’ll pass soon enough.”
The more you practice this, the easier it will become to break bad habits by replacing them with positive self-talk.
Top 10 bad habits you should know.
Bad habits are easy to get and even easier to fall into. But if you’re trying to make good habits stick, it’s essential to keep an eye out for the bad ones that have a way of sneaking into your life.
- Lack of sleep
- Not drinking adequate water
- Not eating breakfast, eating fast, and eating late at night
- Lack of self-awareness
- Being lazy
- Not being able to say, “I’m sorry.”
- Being dishonest and manipulative
- Being unable to admit you’re wrong
As you can see, bad habits can be just anything. From health to relationships, there will always be bad habits, and you need to be aware of them to redirect your path to good ones!
The three A you need!
Indeed, breaking bad habits isn’t that straightforward. You’ll find yourself repeatedly trying and circling back on the process, and you could sometimes feel hopeless.
But, I would like to give you three words that could help you eliminate bad habits in your life.
- Acceptance. We must accept that we have issues with our bad habits and accept that it’s not going away on their own.
- Awareness. We must be aware that our lousy habit affects us negatively and understand how it affects others.
- Action. And finally, we need to take action! By making small changes daily, we can slowly but surely start living healthier lives than ever!
There are one hundred and one simple ways to get rid of a bad habit, and the best way is to try various methods until you hit one that works for you. The one and only big deal here is that you keep trying!
Remember that it’s normal to slip up sometimes, and don’t beat yourself up. You can always get back on track!