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5 Science-Approved Ways to Break a Bad Habit

https://time.com/5373528/break-bad-habit-science/

time.com

5 Science-Approved Ways to Break a Bad Habit
Breaking a bad habit is tough-whether it's having a sweet tooth or a cigarette addiction. These strategies will set you on the right path.

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Set Better Goals

Set Better Goals

Be specific on how you’ll implement goals into your daily life. Examining how you’ve responded to the situation in the past and determining what you can do to avoid reverting to the old habit, might be all it takes to break the habit.

It’s easier to react based on something you’ve already planned out in the past versus trying to come up with a new plan on the fly. 

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Have a Better Reason For Quitting

Have a Better Reason For Quitting

Even if you replace a “bad” habit with a better one, sometimes the original vice will have a stronger biological “reward” than its substitute. This is where the importance of having an intrinsic motivation comes into play.

If that is the case, find as many benefits to the change as you can and try to use them as extra motivation.

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Replace a Bad Habit With a Good One

Replace a Bad Habit With a Good One

The more you suppress your thoughts, the more likely you are to think about that thought or even revert back to that bad habit. Instead of trying to stop doing something,  it’s easier to do something else.

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Know Your Cues

Know Your Cues

Habits have three main parts: a cue, a routine and a reward. Cues are the context where you tend to engage in the behavior and knowing your triggers can help you avoid them.

Capitalizing on major life changes can also help break an unhealthy habit. Shifts in lifestyle can actually be the ideal opportunity for eliminating a vice as you don’t have those same cues.

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Sink Your Stress Levels

Sink Your Stress Levels

Many habits involve the brain’s dopamine (or reward) system. The first time you engage in a new, “rewarding” behavior, you get a euphoric feeling from doing it as a result of a dopamine and that increases the likelihood of you repeating the behavior

Reducing your stress level makes you need less reward to offset it.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

What causes bad habits

Most of the time, bad habits are simply a way of dealing with stress and boredom.

Everything from biting your nails to overspending on a shopping spree to drinking every weekend to ...

"Benefits" of bad habits

All of the habits that you have right now — good or bad — are in your life because they provide a benefit to you, even if they are bad for you in other ways.

And because bad habits provide some type of benefit in your life, it's very difficult to simply eliminate them. Instead, you need to replace a bad habit with a new habit that provides a similar benefit.

How to break a bad habit

  • Choose a substitute for your bad habit
  • Cut out as many triggers as possible. 
  • Surround yourself with people who live the way you want to live.
  • Visualize yourself succeeding and avoid negative self-talk.
  • Plan for failure and find things that can help you bounce back when you make a mistake.

Willpower is Limited

Willpower is Limited

Though companies like Nike try to ignite our willpower with their slogans, ultimately willpower cannot squash our subconscious and unconscious behavior.

Repetition of action and thought can...

Knowledge is not Enough When It Comes To Bad Habits

Just merely knowing something is good or bad for you is not going to give you any benefit, unless the implementation is done. Conscious knowledge cannot change your behavior, one has to make necessary changes to successfully act in self-control.

If you know that you will eat junk food because your refrigerator is filled with it, remove all the junk food.

Adding Friction To Bad Habits

Just as removing friction aids in doing the activity more often, adding friction can aid to remove the bad habit, by making it difficult or cumbersome to do so.

Example: Cigarette smoking declined due to adding taxes, banning in public places and removing from vending machines.

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Willpower is like a muscle

Just like going to the gym and building up strength, the more you train your willpower by accomplishing tasks on a consistent basis

Self-Discipline - a series of healthy habits

Long term change is better served by building better habits, than by forcing your willpower. 

You will choose the apple over the cake for a number of times ... and then give up. Building a habit to start the day by going to the gym will work better.

Habits = “automatic” responses...

 ...to familiar environmental cues. 

They form when you engage in a behavior repeatedly in the presence of consistent stimuli.