Know Your Cues - Deepstash

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5 Science-Approved Ways to Break a Bad Habit

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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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.

Anticipate Setbacks

Behavior change is hard. Slip-ups are common, so when they happen, don't beat yourself up or retreat into negative self-talk. Instead, anticipate your failures and plan for them.

Commit To Change And Tweak as You Go

Make achievable commitments to test new routines and approach it as a series of experiments.

Try your new routine for a while and tweak it or switch to a new one if it doesn’t suit you.

Explore Alternatives

Once you have a clear breakdown of what's happening at each stage of your habit loop, brainstorm healthier routines that will produce the results you want.

Create a list of options of alternatives that might provide comparable reward to the one you are trying to eliminate. Focus on new routines that will help you decompress after a stressful day (the cue) and leave you in a positive frame of mind to get freelance work done (reward).