Habits are something that affect every aspect of our lives. Good habits help propel us closer to our goals, while bad habits keep us in the same rut for longer than necessary. It is quite scary to think about what we do each day, and then think of how each little habit can make or break something. When wanting to grow in life, it may be necessary to look closely at our lives to see if what we do is a good or bad habit. Obviously, we want to decrease/eliminate our bad habits and increase our good habits, but the process seems rather difficult, right?
It is actually not as difficult as you may think. One mission I have set up for myself this year is to replace bad habits with good ones. Each month, I am focusing on one habit to switch so that I can make sure I do not fall back into the bad habits. For January, I started with quitting COFFEE! This is definitely a big deal, and I do not regret it one bit! I have yet to decide on which habits I am switching for the remaining 11 months, but I would say this is a pretty big start.
So how do you quit your bad habits and create room for better habits? Let’s walk through the process I am using to quit my bad habits!
How to Quit Bad Habits
1 // Make the decision to quit
The first step to quitting a bad habit is to tell yourself that you are going to quit it. When you make the decision to quit, your mind automatically makes it easier for you to do it. Saying that you are quitting out loud to yourself or telling your friends is a great way to keep encouraging your mind to refocus its efforts to forming a new habit.
2 // Decide on a substitute
One BIG reason changing your habits does not work is because you do not create a substitution for your habit. For example, when I decided to quit coffee I knew I needed to replace it with something similar, but healthier. I enjoy a warm beverage in the morning at work, and did not want to rely solely on water. Since I have always been a fan of peppermint tea, I knew it was the perfect substitute! It is naturally energizing, warm, and comforting. It contains a lot of the positive benefits I wanted, and lacked the things I did not want.
Side note: I quit coffee for a few reasons: 1. One cup was never enough. I always wanted 5-6 cups a day, which is not healthy. 2. I want to reduce my caffeine intake. The peppermint tea I drink is an all natural, caffeine free tea. 3. Coffee stained teeth.
Having a substitute does not allow your mind to think deprivation. Instead, it thinks about the new experience. When your mind decides that it enjoys the substitute, the craving of your bad habit will dissipate until it is gone completely.
3 // Make a plan
Once you decide on a substitute, make a plan. It may take a little while to make the change, or you may decide to start immediately. Plan out exactly what the transition is going to look like and how you will maintain it.
For me, I had a about 1/4 of a canister of coffee grounds when I decided I was going to quit. I allowed myself to finish the canister, but once it was gone, I would switch. This gave me about a week to prepare my mind with affirmations. I also enjoyed a couple of cups of peppermint tea during that week, so my body would be ready.
Having a plan can make a good habit stick!
4 // Remove anything from your home/car/office that has to do with your bad habits
Coffee grounds were not the only thing I had for my coffee each morning. I had creamer, sweeteners, and coffee filters that needed a new home. Luckily, my boss enjoys coffee, so I took all of it to him. Since I make my coffee [now tea] from home, I do not pay much attention to the coffee maker at work. All that is left in my home is my coffee maker, which is now my tea maker!
By removing the temptations from your everyday routine, you are less likely to fall back into the bad habit. I realize that not all things can be removed, like sitting on the couch with the intentions of working and reality of binge watching Netflix. You cannot just get rid of the couch, but you can move the cushions, hide the remote, or better yet, unplug the TV!
If you absolutely cannot remove the temptation, then by all means make it as difficult as possible for you to keep up the bad habit. You will get tired of plugging the TV back in each time you want to watch TV after focusing on your work. But you will not get tired of the progress you make in doing that.
The goal is to get you to not think about your previous bad habits, completely replace them with good habits, and work at it until the new good habits are like second nature.
5 // Call for reinforcements!
Having an accountability partner helps a lot when changing habits. If you have a friend that does inside jokes with you well, you want to reign that friend in with you! This is also the person that is going to keep you honest about sticking with your new habit. Knowing that they fuss well or do not cut you any slack will help you stick with your new habit, because you fear their reaction more than you wish to backslide.
My accountability partner poured out her coffee after I told her my reasons for quitting, and is now hooked on peppermint tea! How awesome is that?! She still enjoys a cup or two a day, but that is much less than before we chatted.
Doing these five steps in this order will help you change whatever habits you wish. Adapt them to fit your circumstances, and if you are having problems doing that feel free to contact me! I am always happy to toss around ideas with you!
So what bad habits are you going to replace with good habits?? Will you join me on switching habits one month at a time for 2018? Let me know below in the comments, and I will chat with you soon!