A Guide to Breaking Bad Habits
February 10, 2023
Laura Lee

Whether it’s being late to work, not having good hygiene, procrastinating till the last minute to get the job done, having a bad spending habit, or a chronic addiction to which you keep coming back. Bad habits become a part of our routine without us ever fully comprehending and choosing their presence in our lives. The psychology behind resistance to good change involves the mind activating the flight-or-fight system, where we interpret new changes as threats and try to avoid so by reverting back to old routines and establishing safety. Breaking a habit or making changes to your lifestyle may seem like too much work, but sometimes welcoming this uncomfortable nature of change is essential for improving the quality of life before it gets too late.

Getty Images/Moment/ A. Martin UW Photography

The path to changing bad habits is crowded with self-assessment questions and self-control techniques. One of the most crucial questions includes asking yourself why you want to be better to establish a sense of responsibility and duty of care. If you have a better reason to quit, you’ll be more disciplined toward holding yourself accountable. The second step requires becoming aware of your habits’ personal and external triggers and identifying a pattern to what situations provoke your indulgence in them.

Once you get a better perspective on them, you’ll be mindful of avoiding triggering situations, even if progress is not happening, and mindfulness has its way of guiding you back to making an effort like no other. You could also try mentally visualizing choosing a good habit over the bad one to understand how to avoid temptations. The final and most important step involves actively replacing bad habits with good ones. The suppression of thoughts that urge you to participate in bad habits is never the solution, as it only makes you revert to them. However, replacing a bad habit with a new one is possible, so every time you get the urge to order takeout, instead, tell yourself to fix yourself a plate of your favorite fruit.

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