How to Break a Bad Habit

Do you have habits that hold you back from experiencing the successful life you deserve? Your habit may be as small as biting your nails or buying expensive lattes every day. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you may wish to break free of smoking, extreme anger, excessive eating, or other detrimental habits.

There is hope. You can rid yourself of the habits that hold you back.

Use the tips below to help you put an end to that pesky practice once and for all:

1. Determine why you should stop. Think about how your habit hurts you and others. Does it harm your health? Diminish your appearance? Put a dent in your pocketbook? Does it make you act irrationally? Does it hurt your loved ones? Create a list of benefits that you’ll experience when you put an end to this habit once and for all.

* If you lack a compelling reason to stop, chances are you’ll be less willing to work towards quitting. Find a reason to halt the progression of your habit and hammer that thought into your mind each time you feel compelled to continue with it.

2. Dangle a carrot. Naturally, when there is a direct reward at the end of your pursuit, you’re more inclined to give a wholehearted effort. Indulge in a trip to the spa, a new pair of jeans or a trip to your favorite restaurant each time you reach a large milestone.

* Ensure that your reward is irrelevant to your habit. If you’re trying to quit smoking, it’s detrimental to reward yourself with a cigarette at the end of each week for “being good.”

* Save the biggest rewards for last. What do you want the most? What’s something you’ve wished you could purchase or experience for a long time? Spend the time you would normally spend indulging in your habit to plan your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

* The reward should be in line with the complexity of your task. Rewarding yourself with a cruise to the Bahamas because you’ve stopped biting your nails is a bit of a stretch. However, rewarding yourself with a massage at the spa is more fitting.

3. Read success stories. Purchase a book or browse the web to read success stories of those that have previously been in your shoes and conquered the same habit.

* Seeing social proof that others have been able to achieve the task you’re facing makes the pursuit seem more manageable.

4. Small steps. Focus on only one small step each week to ensure long lasting results. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, eliminate sweets from your diet for the first week. The next week eliminate other carbohydrates, like white bread, in addition to the sweets.

* Slow and steady really does win the race. Crash diets don’t work, and quitting anything cold often leads to compensatory behavior. In turn, this will halt your progress and you’ll have to start at step one all over again.

* Create measurable goals. If you’re trying to minimize your spending, determine the average amount you spend each week in unnecessary purchases. Then set a goal to reduce that amount by 10% for the first week.

Habits provide a level of comfort that everything in your world is okay. They give you a feeling of control over your circumstances. However, a dependency on a routine that has negative consequences to your physical and mental health can be replaced by choices that fuel your success.

Remember that you are the boss of your mind, body, and soul. Embark on the road to kicking your bad habit today and prove to yourself just how strong you can be!