How to eliminate bad habits in five practical steps?

Do you have any bad habits in life? You can be honest here. The best part about reading anything is that you don’t have to pretend anything. 

Coming back to bad habits, it is normal and all part of being human. You may want to remove them, but be honest, you don’t find it easy. This article will help you substitute them with good habits, one at a time.

Step 1

Wrap your arms. You don’t have second thoughts about this, do you? You just did it. However, if I enquired which arm was on top, you apparently wouldn’t know without checking. You have been so accustomed to folding your arms a particular way that it’s become a habit. The question is, was it a habit that was consciously made or unintentionally? In this case, I assume it’s the latter. What you might be thinking doesn’t matter which way I fold my arms. That may be correct in this case; however, it’s not always so.

Step 2

Now try wrapping your arms the other way – except you’re a pretty unique breed, I expect you found it uncomfortable to do and somehow it just didn’t feel correct, did it? Because you have identically wrapped your arms multiple times, it has become effortless. Such is the divine power of routine. Now think about all the tasks you do regularly: showering, getting dressed, making a cup of tea to more elaborate matters such as driving, and finding that you also clearly do these without consciously thinking.

It is all fine when it comes to habits that are both good or neutral. The fact that you can do all these things quickly is useful because it saves you a lot of time and energy. Let’s be fair, though, some of your habits are harmful, whether they be a disciplined mode of thinking, bad diet, too much alcohol, smoking light exercise or even not earning what you’re worth!

Step 3

Can we solve this puzzle? Yes of course you can. Is it comfortable? It depends on your definition of comfort. It requires the same level of resolution necessary to create undesired habits. I have listened to and watched many times that it only takes 21 days to change a habit. So I decided to do a simple experiment on myself.

Step 4

I saw I was in the bad habit of ignoring the toothpaste cap off and the toothbrush (electric) on the sink rather than putting it back on its charger. I was determined to change this attitude and set to it. It took me a good 6 weeks to solve it for the most part, and even now, I sometimes forget to do it. What I will say, though, is that at the start I had to work harder to do this and slowly it’s become easier. I don’t think I’m totally mechanically competent yet, which means that I’m still thinking about it. I judge that it takes quite a bit longer to change a habit than I have been led to accept.

Step 5

Now comes the solution. Here are seven crucial steps to follow.

  1. Choose what habit you want to improve.
  2. Ask yourself on a scale of 1-10 how crucial it is for you to change that habit. Providing your answer is eight or above, you can kill it. You also need to make sure that it’s your preference and not someone else’s. i.e., what’s the advantage to you of replacing it?
  3. Pick replacement behavior.
  4. Take the new act consciously.
  5. Reward yourself in any way.
  6. If you fail, just correct yourself without being too hard on yourself.
  7. Keep repeating until the new way becomes the norm.

Of course, you can utilize this method to any number of habits you desire to change – one at a time.

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