We all have wanted to break at least one bad habit in our lives, whether it is sleeping late, eating and drinking unhealthy food, watching too much tv, etc. If you have tried to break a habit, you probably already know how difficult it is.
Luckily, there are many ways to break those bad habits you hate. Now, it is not easy, but it is definitely possible. If you want to break a habit, you must understand how habits work.
How do habits work? In the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, the author explains what the four stages of a habit are. First we have the cue, which triggers the habit. Then we have the craving, which is what motivates you to do the habit. Next we have the response, which is the actual habit. Lastly we have the reward, which is the end goal of a habit.
Now that you have a better understanding of how habits work, we are going to give you four simple tips that will help you break any bad habit.
1. Identify a reason
If you want to break any bad habit, you must first identify the reason why you want to break that habit. Without having a clear reason in mind, you are never going to find the motivation to stop a bad habit.
2. Replace the habit
Habits, whether they’re good or bad, provide value to your life. For this reason, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to break them. For example, opening social media apps after waking up might not be the best choice, but it makes you feel connected with the world. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, talks about how you don’t eliminate a bad habit, you replace it.
As an example, let’s say you want to stop using your phone 30 minutes before bed. Because using your phone adds value to your life, it will be difficult to stop, so we replace it with a more productive habit such as reading a book, or getting things ready for the next day.
3. Identify what the reward is
It’s very likely that you’re unaware of what the actual reward is for the habit you are trying to break. Sometimes you have to sit down and take the time to dig a little deeper and find out what you are getting out of a bad habit.
As an example, let’s say that you have the habit of using social media for long periods of time. You want to stop this habit as it is making you unproductive. Therefore, you sit down and ask yourself why you use social media a lot. Is it because you feel connected with the world? Is it to fill spare time? Is it to meet new people? Is it to read the news?
After sitting down and digging a little deeper, you find that the real reward is not using social media itself, but something else. By doing this the bad habits you want to break, you will find out that in many cases the reward is not what you thought it was.
Take the time to identify what the reward is, and then what reward you want, and then replace the habit with a healthier one.
4. Make the habit not so easily accessible
The main reason why we engage in bad habits every day is because they’re easy to access. For example, it is easy to turn on your phone and use social media, it is easy to watch Netflix, it is easy to sleep late. Therefore, the more it takes you to get the reward, the less likely you will want to do that habit.
As an example, let’s say you want to stop using social media so often, so, what you end up doing is deleting all social media apps and reinstalling them every time you need to use them. Because you have to take more steps to achieve the reward, it’s going to be harder for you to go through the entire process, helping you resist the craving of wanting the reward.
We have reached the end of the article. By now you should have a better understanding of how habits work, what the four stages of a habit are: cue, craving, response, reward, and four ways of breaking a bad habit.
It can be difficult to break a habit, but remember, it is not impossible. Start by identifying the reason why you want to stop a habit, then replace the habit and identify what the actual reward is, and finally, make the habit not so easily accessible.
If you are still having trouble breaking a bad habit, then you should try doing a 30-day challenge. For 30 days you will be “forcing” yourself to do something new. 30 days is more than enough to replace a bad habit for a good one. As a tip, if you are not finding the motivation to do it, try to find someone who wants to achieve a similar goal and make a deal with them, for example, whoever fails has to pay $100 to the other person.