Habits are defined as “bad” when they tend to occur over and over again, preventing us from living our lives to the fullest and making the best of our potential. While making mistakes is part of our human nature, bad habits seem to be dragging us down more consistently over time. In addition, bad habits should not be considered as a part of our everyday life, but we have to identify them and deal with them as soon as possible. Below are 8 easy but powerful ways to break a bad habit:

1. Acknowledge

In order for us to deal with a bad habit, we should first identify and acknowledge it. Admission and acceptance are the first stages we have to come through to allow ourselves to finally break a bad habit. If we remain confused about our habits, then it will be impossible for us to make any adjustments. So, first of all admit that a certain habit of yours is harmful.

2. Isolate the behavior you need to quit

We should not consider a bad habit as a result or effect of other things happening in our lives. Making such connections leads us to subconsciously justify the bad habit that follows. Of course our lives would be a lot better without stressful factors that we think lead us to acquire a certain bad habit; however, we should focus only on the habit and address it directly in order to successfully quit it.

3. Choose a bad day to quit a bad habit

In one hand, we often tend to decide to break a bad habit when we feel good and optimistic, which is not necessarily a wrong perspective. On the other hand, why not try to break a bad habit when we feel more vulnerable as it is more likely for us to feed our bad habit? Imagine how much easier it would get for us to break bad habits on good days, if we could deal with them on bad days. 

4. One step at a time

We shouldn’t try to change or break too many habits at once. After having identified which habit(s) we want to quit, we should take steps one by one and cope with each habit separately. It’s not easy to control our impulses when we push ourselves to the limits, as it more likely that we will fail to be effective. Instead, we should try focusing our willpower on just one habit and things will be a lot simpler. 

5. Replace the habit

Some experts believe that the most effective way to break a habit is to replace it with a new one. We should encourage ourselves to avoid our bad habit when we feel the urge for it and replace it with a healthier one. To accomplish that we need to find a replacing routine that fulfills the need for our past habit in a healthy way. Instead of concentrating on what you are missing, start appreciating how these new routines reward you.

6. Pay attention to the triggers

Time and location are important factors, when we want to break bad habits. We usually find ourselves in the demanding position to resist the urge of repeating a habit, when we should be focusing on what really triggers this urge. For example, location is often reported as a triggering factor and therefore we should try to avoid places that may cause a negative habit loop.

7. Reward 

Even the smallest steps forward should be celebrated. We should make sure that we reward ourselves for each accomplishment during the procedure. We can set rewards for the 1st week, the 1st month, 3rd month etc. By creating such milestones, we will be able to remain constantly focused. However, rewards should be chosen carefully; we should not celebrate a smoking-free month with one or two cigarettes. 

8. “No exceptions” Policy

Once we have made the decision to quit a bad habit, we should be strong enough to support it by all means. No matter what, we should establish a dynamic “no exceptions” policy and never look back. In addition, we should always remember that relapsing is mostly provoked from making the exceptions.