If you have ever tried to break free from a bad habit you know that it can be a very daunting task. Some habits we have had for years and have used these habits as a crutch to help us cope with life, anxiety and problems. However, these habits rob us of mental and emotional strength and in other cases are a danger to our health and personal relationships. So, it does good to note key ways to break free from bad habits that have left us prisoners in our own body.
Here are 7 tips to help you break free from a bad habit.
You first need to have a good reason to break free from your bad habit. Is your habit destroying your personal life? Is it running your health? Has it put a strain on your marriage?
When your reason for overcoming a bad habit is strong enough it can be a secure anchor to help you stay the course when waters of problems come crashing.
For some, it’s a desire to make right their relationship with someone they love. For others, it’s about making a healthy decision. Still others, it's a matter of just doing what’s right. Whatever your reason is for trying to break free from a bad habit, be sure to write it down and to review it at the stat and conclusion of your day. This can serve a good reminder to help you stay the course.
2. Replace with a good habit
It’s easier to break free from a bad habit when you can replace it with a good habit. For example, are you working on controlling your temper and yelling when you get angry. Why not replace the bad habit of yelling with complimenting. Instead of yelling and hitting someone you are angry with, why not compliment them and hug them/ or high five them. This helps you channel your anger into something positive and constructive while at the same time helping you to heal perhaps damaged relationships.
Another example is this. Are you struggling with viewing pronograhy and it’s damaging your marriage? Instead of looking at pornography to ease marital or life tension, why not look at something online that makes your laugh or feel good. By replacing a bad habit with a good habit you will find that it is easier to see progress.
3. Get help
Let your friends and your spouse know about your determination to stop bad habits. They can be there to hold you accountable. For example, a friend at the office may remind you to not look at sexually explicit things passed around in office banter or your spouse may help you out by sending your positive and funny video to watch during the day to help you keep focused on something good. All the extra help may be just what you need to overcome bad habits and make the needed changes!
For some habits you may need to seek professional help to overcome a bad habit because stopping cold turkey may present you with some immediate health risk. Some of those habits include but not limited do.
Drug abuse ( prescription or illegal)
We advise you to seek professional help when endeavoring to stop bad habits that would run health risk if done alone. For that we encourage you to do some research on your specific bad habit and seek professional help. A list of resources are also provided on our resource page.
4. Give yourself time
When I was a child I remember sucking my two fingers. It was my comfort. Everyone would encourage me to stop but I did not want to. I remember my brother put hot sauce on my fingers one night to help me overcome it. I was mad but I got the point. It took several years but eventually I determined that I was getting older and I needed to mature and forced myself to stop the habit. Similarly, as you work on fighting the bad habit and gaining more mental and emotional maturity, you may eventually decide to leave behind a habit that is holding you back. Give yourself time.
5. Learn from others
It is wise to learn from the example and experience of others who have successfully overcome the bad habits you are working to overcome. So, do some research! You will find experiences of others encouraging as you battle your own habits. The experience will serve as a beacon of hope for you by helping you to see that it is possible to overcome your bad habit! It may also prove to be enlightened on specific things that will help you overcome your bad habit.
6. Expect setbacks
Typically when a person is sick they get worse before they get better even after taking medicine. So, don't be surprised if you have several setbacks as your work on overcoming your bad habit. Setbacks are part of the process.
7. Don’t give up
Your attitude means everything and even when you have a setback it is important that you develop a positive attitude about it. Use the setback as a teaching tool. Find out why you relapsed, write down your plan of action if you encounter that situation again and get back up and join the race. In this case be like Heather Dorniden. She fell down during the 600-meter race in the 2008 Big Ten Indoor Track Championship. Despite fall, she got back up, caught up and still won the race. So, the point is not that you fell, it's that you get back up and keep the prize ahead clearly in focus, namely, beating your bad habit. It reminds me of the advice my friend's Father gave him when he said, “Son, it’s OK to fall, just get back up.”