We all know someone who bites their nails, smokes or drinks too much. There are all kinds of bad habits. Most of us can think of a bad habit that they want to change. However, this seems to be harder than it looks, otherwise so many of us wouldn’t have them. In this article we will discuss an effective strategy that can help you with quitting those bad habits.
You are in control!
There is not a single miracle cure for fixing bad habits. It’s important to realise that you are responsible: You make the choice to light that cigarette or to down another beer. On one side, this is a confronting thought because you realise that your actions have consequences and no one can make the final change except from you. However, try to change this into a positive thought. Namely, full responsibility also gives you control. All you need to do is channel this control in stopping your bad habit.
It’s important to find out what is causing your bad habit(s). Most of the time this is because of stress or boredom. Nail biting, smoking or checking Facebook every ten minutes are classic examples which are strengthened by stress or boredom. Take a closer look and find the triggers that elicit your bad habit. For example, your local pub or the place where you smoke at work.
Pros and cons
Next, look at the advantages and disadvantages that your habit causes. For example, smoking can be relaxing and can help to break social barriers at a party. However, smoking also causes fatigue, coughing and a bad smell. Not to mention the long term health consequences. Now that you have a better picture of the situation, you can set up a plan to break or replace the bad habit. Also, a better image of the benefits and disadvantages often gives you more insight into why you want to quit the bad habit.
The ‘If-then’ strategy
This strategy simply say that IF you are confronted with a situation that elicits your bad habit, THEN you should choose an action that subdues or replaces your bad habit. For example, IF your colleagues at work ask you to join them for a cigarette break, THEN you will tell them that you are going to have a cup of tea or coffee instead. This may seem easier said than done, but it has shown to be effect. So it’s worth the try!
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NiceDay: Identify your bad habit. Set up a list with benefits against the disadvantages in your your diary. Now check, is your bad habit still worth it? Also keep track of your emotions, so you can discover the cause of your bad habit.