Can you break a bad habit?

Out with the old... In with the new!

"A change in bad habits leads to a change in life." -Jenny Craig

No one really likes to admit that they have a bad habit. But let's be honest, doesn't everyone have one? Doesn't everyone have a guilty pleasure they engage in from time to time? Some may be more extreme and dangerous, as in smoking or drinking, but some are not so bad, like nail biting (although that makes your nails look horrible). Habits forming is the process by which behaviors become automatic. Your life is molded by habits. How happy are you? An outcome of your habits. How in shape are you? An outcome of your habits. What you repeatedly do eventually forms the person you are and what you believe in.

Our everyday lives are full of habits, even though you may not see them as one. Brushing your teeth, showering, and eating are all things we do every day (well, at least I hope they are). Habits come in two forms; good habits and bad habits. Good habits help us reach and accomplish our goals. They contribute to us being able to move forward and reach the goals we have set for ourselves. On the other hand, bad habits hinder us from reaching the goals we have set for ourselves. Bad habits are the ultimate reason we are held back and they prevent us from the success we are capable of achieving. Our brain cannot distinguish the difference between the two types of habits, which means our brain isn't able to tell us to refrain from performing our bad habits.

Growing up, I struggled with a habit that most parents dread.... thumb sucking! My parents tried for years to try to break my habit, but nothing ever worked. Well until I got enough courage to finally break my own habit (plus my parents were about to spend thousands of dollars on braces). If there is a habit you want to change, your first have to identify your habit loop. The habit loop contains three steps: trigger, response, and reward. You have to actively decide on a new response to the trigger that produces a reward that’s at least good as what you’re getting now.

The first step for breaking habits is awareness. Simply tracking your issues will make you more aware if the behavior and give you dozens of ideas for stopping it. Breaking habits take time, effort, and mostly perseverance. But you don't necessarily eliminate a bad habit, you replace it. You might not have success right away, but that doesn't mean you can't have it at all.

Want to fix bad habits now? Try these activities out!