Break your bad habits in three simple steps
Most of us have the odd bad habit we’d rather put behind us. Luckily there’s no craving you can’t conquer.
But the best intentions aren’t always enough to see you through – it helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve too.
Try our three-step approach to improve your resolve. They’ll work just as well for something serious, like smoking, as they will with more trivial habits, like biting your nails.
1. Recognise the problem: Acknowledge the behaviour you want to stop, then try to understand what drives you to do it. You’ll find your triggers are linked to times of day, places, people, and your emotions. Spend some time thinking about your habit, and put it in context before taking action.
2. Make it to a month: Get serious for one month – experts believe this is enough to break any habit. You can make small changes and build the tempo, or grit your teeth and go cold turkey right away. Try replacing your bad habits with good ones (like swapping chocolate bars for healthy bananas) and avoid the triggers you recognised in the first step. Hold your nerve for those first four weeks and the next four will be much easier!
3. Reward - and forgive: Celebrate your successes – pick something you enjoy (unrelated to your habit, of course) and indulge yourself at the month mark, whether it’s a new outfit, or a meal with loved ones. And if you ever slip up, don’t beat yourself up! Recognise why you were unsuccessful then make a fresh start the next day...