We are the creature of habits. We buy same food from the same restaurant. We live in our own familiar routines. In addition to, our habits are useful. They create order in our daily busy schedule. They keep us intact to the daily routine tasks we have. But what if we want to change some part of lives? What if the task that we have been doing for approximately our whole lives is wrong? The task needs to be eradicated. Right? Well, here is the hook: habits are difficult to change, replace or eliminate. However, before we start learning about the breaking of our bad habits, we should consider ways to make a new habit and then the things that cause bad habits to happen. In addition to, ways to make a new habit will be beneficial to understand first and then we will move to our topic Breaking Habits
Recently, a study of 96 people was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology and they found some interesting psychological facts that we will discuss later. Furthermore, the research concluded that it takes average sixty-six days for an average person to make a new habit or to lose an old one. In addition, the actual number of days range from eighteen to two-fifty-seven (18 – 257) days. But right now, we are more concerned with the famous 3 R’s of habits than that research as it will practically make us learn a way to adopt a new habit rather than giving statistical data.
In contrast to, every habit you have follows 3 R’s – three steps. Namely:
The author referred it to 3 R’s of habit change. But this concept is not something that has made just like that, instead, it has been already proven with the name of ‘Habit Loop’.
Leaving the terminologies, used in the psychology behind, we should start summing up the way to do it – as the terminologies will not help us is making new habits.
How does this 3 R’s look like in real life?
Someone calls you from behind, a Reminder that makes you turn. This behavior initiates the behavior as it makes you turn in curiosity that who might have called me?
You turn to that voice and start talking. It is something related to your natural behavior, or I like to call it as Routine.
You find out who called you and what is it that he wants to share/tell. A Reward which you get by following your habit
However, by following these three steps, you can actually make a new habit. Let’s take it step by step.
If you ask your friends about making a new habit or breaking habit, they might tell you that you need to find a heavy dose of will-power or you need to exercise will power. I disagree. Getting motivated and trying out a new habit is old school and instead it does not work often. So what to do next?
How to set?
Perhaps making a reminder would work. Firstly, make a list of things that you do every day – like getting a shower, making coffee, brushing your teeth, getting to bed, flushing the toilet etc. Then, make another list of things that happen to you daily – like traffic light turns red, you get a call etc.
What to do next?
Just connect anything from those list to your habit. Like placing an apple in the kitchen in front of the coffee maker – when you try to make a habit of eating an apple daily.
Routine: start the habit with a point from where it is incredibly easy to follow
Making the habit easy when you start is really going to help you in the long term. For example, exercise for a couple of minutes on day one is easier than doing it for half an hour on the very first day. Furthermore, it will make you feel worse and eventually you will end up in leaving that habit.
Reward yourself for whatever you have achieved in making that habit, so far. Try to tell yourself that you did well. For instance, whenever you achieve the first goal of the day in making a new habit, tell yourself “great work it was” Or “you did awesome today.”
Now that we have done learning ways to add up a new habit, we should move to the next topic in hand, that is, how to break a habit.
What Causes bad habits to happen?
Essentially, there nothing like leaving a bad habit. You can never leave a bad habit. Your habit can only be replaced. It cannot be changed. However, there are two basic things that cause a bad habit to come by and stays for some time (until you replace it). Namely:
These two little kittens are the cause for each of the bad habit to happen. Although they don’t seem quite mighty, yet they are the main causes of your bad habits. For example, when you are stressed, you tend to eat more or smoke.
On one hand, it is pretty obvious that you will turn more towards such acts but by messing something up or following the habit, which you wanted to leave out of stress, you don’t become a bad person. Instead, it’s something that makes you human. Welcome to the club.
On the other hand, boredom makes you indulge in the bad habits that you wanted to leave. But it’s cool. You didn’t do anything wrong. You just followed the thing which any other human being would have done. What you need to do is you need to:
- Cut down as many triggers as you can that causes stress or boredom.
- Choose a substitute for your bad habit.
- Join forces with somebody.
- Visualize yourself succeeding.
- Know the difference between habits and addiction (as addiction needs professional support).
By following above-mentioned tips, anyone can break a bad habit or make a new one. But one thing should be kept in mind while trying breaking habits, that doesn’t matter how many times you failed, you will eventually succeed. As the only difference between people who failed and the people who succeeded is that: successful people never-give-up and they didn’t give up when they failed several times before adopting a new habit. The bottom line is, this shit takes time.
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