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We all have habits that we wish that we could kick. Whether we watch too much TV or eat a few too many burgers, there is something that we wish we could stop doing. All’s not lost, though, because there are some strategies and techniques that you can use to help kick these bad habits.
When you are trying to break a bad habit, you need support. You might not need someone to watch you like a hawk to make sure you don’t go on a midnight chocolate eating spree, but you will want people to support the fact that you are trying to better yourself. This might be a simple as not mentioning or doing the thing you are trying to give up when you are around. A constant reminder of your bad habit only makes you want to do it more and putting it from your mind can be an excellent way of pushing away cravings. You might need more support, or if it is something you and your friends share, then you could work together to get rid of the bad habit. If you all want to lose weight and eat healthier, then you might want to challenge each other to lose the most weight with the winner getting a prize.
Reinforcement comes in two varieties – negative and positive. The first (negative) means punishing yourself if you start doing your bad habit. For example, if you are trying to stop ordering takeaways, then a negative reinforcement is that you can’t do something you enjoy tomorrow (such as going to the cinema) because you were bad and got a takeaway. A positive reinforcement would be treating yourself to going to the cinema for not ordering a takeaway last night. It is disputed as to which works best, but it will depend on your situation and how you are as a person, but try both and find which is most effective. This might be a great way to help you overcome your bad habit. This could be combined with the above challenge by having the person who comes in last place have to do a forfeit. This will help to motivate people not to come last and help push you all towards wanting to win.
A lot of our bad habits can be replaced with better alternatives. Unhealthy foods can be replaced with healthier options. If your bad habit is an overconsumption of chocolate bars, then you could swap those out for carrot sticks. If you eat a carrot stick whenever you feel like some chocolate, then over time you will start to disassociate that craving with chocolate and start to want to eat carrot sticks. They are much healthier for you and will help you to break your bad habit. The same is true for smoking. You could switch to chewing gum or patches for your nicotine intake or even swap to using an e-vape. They are sold in a lot of places such as vapeshop.co.uk and can help you swap to a less unhealthy alternative. Whatever your bad habit is, it is likely that there is a better alternative. If you can’t think of one, then try searching on Google to see if other people are having a similar amount of difficulty and see if they can suggest any alternatives or other ways that might help you to break your habit.
Reverse the habit
This might sound strange, but it can work. Reversing the habit means instead of doing your bad habit, do the opposite. If you get a craving for a takeaway, don’t and instead go an exercise. If you find yourself with the urge to sit down and binge a box set, go outside and socialize instead. You will slowly start to reduce these cravings and urges, and they will have less power over you. They can also be done on a smaller scale. If you want to watch TV, let yourself do it but also make yourself do something productive at the same time. It can be on in the background while you clean the living room or actively get up and do chores during commercial breaks or between episodes. This way you will be more productive, you have chosen to stop the habit, and it will gradually ease you out of wanting to spend your entire Saturday in front of the TV. The same applies to other bad habits you just need to spend some time considering them.