How to Break Bad Habits & Achieve Your Goals

By Joanna 11/09/2017 In
Fitness Tips
Nutritional Tips

You’re probably watching this because you want to break your BAD habits.

Habits run our daily life. Almost everything we do is habit based. The positive habits are great, but we all have those bad habits we’d like to break – weather it’s reducing on junk foods, overeating, quit smoking, quit drinking or spending less time online.

So let’s get straight into it. I’m going to share with 10 effective and practical steps you can take right now to break your bad habits and work towards achieving your fitness and life goals.

1) Understand your HABITS

Ignoring your bad habits and hoping that they will go away will NOT work. Instead, it’s important for you to be aware of your bad habits.

Every habit follows the same 3-step pattern:

  1. The Trigger – What triggers you to gain the reward you want?
  2. The Routine – A physical or emotional action you take to gain the reward.
  3. The Reward – The satisfaction you hope to get following the routine

All habits have thoughts and actions that take place beforehand.! The key is to keep track of these patterns in order to understand your bad habits. So take notice and make a record of these patterns, for at least the 1st couple of weeks.

The Golden Rule of Habit Change is to “pair the same trigger with the same reward and only change the action in the middle”.

For instance, the trigger is stress and the reward is to calm yourself down. The action in the middle is the habit of munching mindlessly. So we want to change the action in the middle to a healthier habit, for instance drinking a warm cup of green tea, which can help with relaxation or going for a long walk.

You won’t instantly find a new healthier habit to replace the old habit. This will take time and trials before you see permanent change.

2) Visualize your new lifestyle

The next step is to visualize your new lifestyle. In order to replace bad habits, with new positive habits, you got to first visualize your new lifestyle and how that would make you feel. This will be your inner motivation to drive you forward and achieve your goal.

For instance, if I quit smoking, I’ll have more energy and better health for my kids. If I reduce on junks and eat better, I’m going to start losing weight, my clothes will fit better and I’ll look amazing on my wedding day.

Visualize your new lifestyle not just once, but start your day with positive affirmations and this will also serve as a reminder.

3) Stop focusing on what you’re NOT going to do. Instead focus on what you’re GOING to do.

We tend to set negative goals and focus on things we’re NOT going to do anymore, for instance I’m NOT going to eat junk food. I’m not going to smoking anymore. I’m not going to binge.

Instead of focusing on what you’re NOT going to do and fight against it, the goal is to create NEW HABITS and focus on what you’re GOING to do.

I’m going to cook more often and eat home. I’m going to exercise 3 times weekly. I’m going to chew on gum when I have the urge to smoke.

4) Focus on small achievable goals

It’s not about stopping you bad habit the next day, because I’m sure you’ve tried it and most likely failed.

If you know you have sugar cravings, instead of saying no to all sugary foods, take a look at how you can replace that with healthier options such as natural sugar from fruits, maple syrup or honey. By doing so, you’ll still satisfy your sugar cravings but you’re consciously making better choices for your body.

So don’t worry about tomorrow or next year, focus on today. The key here is to make slow and subtle changes every single day and this will give your body and mind the time to adapt.

5) Be aware of your environment

It’s easy to avoid or not think of something if you don’t see it. Hence your environment plays a curial role in breaking bad habits.

  • If food is your weakness, avoid buying and stocking up on junk food. This will reduce the chances of you grabbing something from the fridge and eat mindlessly.
  • If you’re trying to quit drinking or smoking and you choose to hang out at a bar, that wouldn’t help. Avoid places that’d trigger you to smoke or drink.
  • If you are used to drive thrus, change your route and avoid driving pass that same location every day.

So take a look at how your current environment is feeding your bad habits. Ask yourself, what small changes can I do right now.

6) Use habit reminders

Habit reminders are a great way to keep up with a new routine. The whole idea is to be hyper-aware especially when you are about to fall into the same old bad habit.

For instead, when I tried to quit biting my nails, I applied nail polish as a reminder, plus it’s just really disgusting to bite your nails with nail polish on. It totally worked.

When I wanted to go to bed earlier, I set a reminder on my phone at 11pm daily to remind me to wind down.

If you have the habit of going to the fridge and eat mindlessly, stick a huge note onto your fridge as a reminder.

These reminders might seem silly to begin with, but it’s a great way to keep the habit change at the forefront of your mind.

7) Commit Publicly

When you commit your goals publicly, it makes you feel accountable, and in a way you’ve set a challenge for yourself to succeed in order to prove yourself to others, which can be a huge motivation.

So go ahead, Tell friends, your family members, join an online community, post it online or even leave your comments below. Don’t just tell them once, but keep them updated on a regularly basis.

8) Be Kind to Yourself

You’ve probably gone through the “What the hell” scenario.

Imagine this, you’ve been thinking about that tub of ice cream all day long, eventually you give up and give in to your cravings. You feel shitty about “screwing up”. So instead of just have one scoop, you convince yourself, “What the hell”, I’ll start again tomorrow, and you ended up finishing the entire tub. The result, you overeat even more than you ever did before.

Yes, it’s important to be strict about eliminating a bad habit, but you want to avoid filling your head with negative thoughts. 1 mistake DOES NOT equal failure!

So beating yourself up over a slip-up is counterproductive to your long-term goals. Be kind and forgive yourself. This is a process that will take time.

9) Focus on the process not just the results

Stop looking for short cuts. Getting rid of a bad habit is like any other long-term goal. It won’t magically happen overnight.

It requires daily commitment, reminders and trial and error. Sticking to just one method might not work for you, perhaps you need to try another method. So it’s also important to review your progress every single day.

This might be tough at first, but if you stick by it, eventually you’ll start to follow a new positive routine without realising. And that’s when you have succeeded.

10) Have a Clear Goal & Realistic Timeline

Just like anything you want to achieve in your life, you need to have a goal and a realistic timeline. So we’re going to do this together.

Let’s make a commitment and go on a #30DayHabitChallenge together. To begin with, pick only one bad habit that you want to get rid of and let that be your focus. What is it? Let me know in the comments below. Eventually you can extend that to 60 or 90 days.

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