How To Break Your Bad Habits – For Good!


We all have bad habits that we want to get rid of, and doing so can be difficult. When it comes to habits, there are four main pillars that they all fall under; health, wealth, love and happiness. Being in the health and fitness space, I get a lot of emails from people who are trying to get rid of bad habits so that they can live a healthier life. I get emails from people who want advice on how to get rid of their habit of smoking, or how to quit drinking soda or even how to form the habit of eating better.

One thing that I have learned is that we often set ourself up for failure by trying to accomplish too much at once. We try to change too many bad habits all at once and we end up overwhelming ourselves. For example, some people want to quit drinking soda and stop smoking at the same time, all the while changing their diet so that they can start live a healthier life right away. And while that is great to want to change all of those bad habits and want to be healthy, trying to tackle both at the same time can set you up for failure right out of the gate. I’m guilty of trying to do this as well, so I know how difficult it can be.

One Step at a Time

One thing that I have learned from the many books that I have read is that in order to break bad habits, you have to break them one at time. Pick one thing and work on that and don’t move onto something else until that habit is broken.

In order to change a habit, it takes repetition and constancy. When you want to stop a bad habit, there are three things that you need to pay attention to: the trigger, the behavior and the reward. This is the cycle that happens every time you engage in the bad habit. So if you want to quit smoking, you need to recognize the trigger that makes you want to smoke. Is it stress? When something irritates you? Maybe its when you go to drink that cup of coffee? The behavior is the act of smoking and the reward is what you get out of it. In this case, how that cigarette makes you feel.

The key is to identify the trigger point. Understand what that trigger is and why its happening. This is the point where you need to be able to step out and begin to shift your habits that you want to change.

 Using Goals to Change Habits

When changing your habits, you should also attach goals to them. We all have goals and you can use the skills you have learned from setting goals to overcome your bad habits. If you need help setting a goal, check out my blog, “How to achieve your goals by making them S.M.A.R.T. Goals and adding some NLP”. Next time you set a goal, I want you to ask this question: How will I know when I have achieved my goal? At what point will I have officially quite smoking? Is it after one day of not having a cigarette? Or is it after a year of not having a cigarette? What will you feel like when you stop smoking? How will you look once you quite? What will it smell like?

So, be conscious of the cycle (the trigger, the behavior and the reward), so you can know how to alter it. Learn to recognize the trigger so that you can learn how you need to change your behavior. This way, you can either eliminate the trigger, stopping the trigger from happening, or you can learn how to deal with that trigger in a new, healthier way.

 How to Apply it to Anything

This approach to stopping bad habits works for all types of habits, whether it is smoking, eating unhealthy food that we know we shouldn’t be and getting on a better nutrition program, or perhaps a habit that is disrupting your relationships or financial situation.

As you probably know, I get a lot of great advice just from reading books and they have really helped me out in my own life. Some of the books that have helped me learn how to deal with changing habits are, Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Jeff Olson’s The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness, and Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.

So when you want to break a bad habit, realize there is a trigger, before the behavior, and a reward you get once you complete that behavior. And realize that most of the time, the reward that you receive from that behavior is often superficial or very short lived and when the reward wears off, we feel bad about the behavior. This can even lead you to repeat the cycle over again as the let down from the reward can become a trigger and cause you to repeat the unwanted behavior.

Pay attention, be aware and ask questions. Remember, I came from some really bad habits, like drug addiction, and through the power of habit and becoming self aware, by becoming consistent and repeating the good habits, I was able to break those bad ones and now I want to help you do the same. I hope that this information serves you and you can learn to recognize the cycles so you can fix your bad habits.