Bad habits — we all have them. From soda to cigarettes, impulse spending and other addictions. No one can tell you how long it will take to successfully quit a habit, either. It depends on you, the habit in question and plenty of other contributing factors. If you’re looking for a way to make a change, we’ve pulled together some tips to help you along the journey.
Find Your Triggers
You need to understand yourself in order to change your habit. Is there a time or place you find yourself biting your nails?
Replace It with a Good (or at Least Better) One
If you want to quit drinking soda, consider replacing it with flavored water. If you want to quit smoking, try lollipops. Think of your habit, and give it a placeholder with something a little better.
Be Ready for the “Downsides” of Quitting the Habit
Do you know one of the main reasons people relapse when they’re trying to quit smoking? Weight gain. Obviously the trade off in terms of health risks aren’t worth it if you’re looking at the situation objectively, but when you’re looking at the rising scale it may make it difficult to stick with it if you’re not prepared. Maybe by putting the scale away for now.
Reduce Other Sources of Stress
Stress will always be there, and it’s often a trigger — especially when it grows. Start by trying mediation, sleeping more, and walking in nature to help reduce and manage your stress.
Prepare for Slip Ups
Change is hard, and slip ups are going to happen. This doesn’t mean you failed! Be honest with yourself and try to learn from them. A growth mindset (instead of all-or-nothing) will help to keep your bad habits in check.
Get Support, Give Support
This can be a friend, a Facebook group, or Alcoholics Anonymous. You don’t have to work through your bad habits alone. Having someone as a cheerleader can be very encouraging!
Aim to change one habit at a time. For example, start by reducing your soda intake by 1 can a day. Then you can build on it and move to a can every other day. And eventually you can build up to soda being a rare treat if that is your goal.
Have a Reason
We know that soda, smoking, and other excesses are not good for our health. But these habits are often rooted in personal behaviors. Try giving up smoking so you can watch your grandkids graduate from college. Try giving up soda so that you have more energy to play with your new puppy.
Set Your Goal
And be specific! Instead of “I want to quit drinking soda,” a better goal would be, “starting on Monday, I will only drink 1 can of soda a day. I will do this for the next two weeks.”
Believe In Yourself
You are growing. You are wonderful. You can make this adjustment.