From detrimental practices such as smoking and living off junk food to minor ones like nail-biting, we all have bad habits that may not be good for us or others. Unlike good habits, that leave you satisfied, a bad habit often makes you happy in that moment, followed by regret. By Patience Gumbo-Chimbetete
Personal development and business coach Asanda Gcoyi says bad habits usually form as a result of gratification at first occurrence followed by a subconscious “allowance”. This is because the habit either confirms what you already think about yourself/situation or you’re unaware of its existence. James Clear, author of Transform Your Habits: How to Build to Good Habits and Break Bad Ones, says habits are a result of small decisions made over time.
Something triggers the behaviour (reminder), another prompts you to act (routine) in order to achieve a result (rewards). Smoking is an example of this because experiencing stress might act as your reminder to reach out for a cigarette, and eventually, smoking becomes a way to relieve stress.
Here are 4 tips to help you get rid of bad habits:
1. Be courageous. Letting go of something you are used to is not easy. It requires courage to accept the fact that certain behaviours are bad for you. For any meaningful change to take place, you need to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone.
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2. Small steps. You don’t just wake up with a bad habit. So, you must slowly and consciously work through them instead of expecting them to disappear instantly. Even though your ultimate goal is to completely do away with the bad habit, how you do it is also important.
3. Turn it around. James recommends replacing your bad habit with a good one by using the bad as a reminder. So, every time you’re triggered to perform the bad, do the good instead.
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4. Start today! To sum it up, becoming the type of person you want to be is about the daily process you follow, and not the ultimate product you achieve. And though it is difficult to do away with your bad habit, it is not impossible. Start today and you will be surprised by what you can do!