3 Tips to Break Bad Habits


Most people have at least one bad habit they wish they could break.  Whether it is constantly chewing on fingernails or pulling out hair when stressed, everyone has one.  You may have gotten used to the idea that your bad habit is with you for the rest of your life because you developed it as a child, so why should it go away now?  That's dangerous thinking, because regardless of how long you have had a habit, if you have the will power, there is a way to lose your inconvenient tendencies.  Here are three tips recommended by doctors to break the annoying habits you've developed.

1) Acknowledge the issue and try to understand it.  Habits are usually determined by triggers that determine when you perform the action.  For example, you may only pick at your cuticles when you are stressed or hungry.  If you can either avoid these situations or be especially aware of yourself when you are in them, there is a higher chance of being able to control your addictions.  By understanding your habits and their triggers, you can begin to eradicate them at the source.

2) Write down every time your habit occurs.  List the emotions, causes, and environmental conditions surrounding you when you performed the action.  Writing this information down has several effects on you.  First, you begin to see how often you perform your habit because every occasion is written down in front of you.  This should provide motivation in quitting, especially if the habit is dangerous to you or others, such as smoking.  In addition, it helps you understand your habit more by providing a framework for when you most often perform the act.  Measuring the situational circumstances around the habit will put it in a much more accurate light that will allow you to better understand how to break it.

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3) Replace the habit with a healthier alternative.  If you fully understand your habit and what causes it, you should be able to predict when you will perform it.  If you bite your nails in time of stress, try chewing gum or drinking water when you know you will be in a stressful situation.  If you crack your knuckles often, try to preoccupy your hands with alternatives, like drawing, when you feel the urge.  The reason to fully understand your habit is so that you can predict and replace it.

Overall, humans are creatures of habit.  This can be a bad thing, especially when the habits we develop are annoying, unpleasant, or dangerous. When trying to break a bad habit, it is important to understand it.  You can do this by becoming aware of the habit and quickly jotting down whenever you perform it.  After you fully understand why the habit exists and when it is most prevalent, you should try to replace it with a more beneficial habit. 

About the author: Seth Gowdy is the Sales Manager for Pivot Insurance and holds multiple insurance and securities' licenses. He has been part of the financial services industry for nearly 20 years. In his free time he enjoys being outdoors fishing, hiking, and geocaching with his wife and two children. Seth most enjoys helping clients with Pivot’s customized process and needs' calculators. You can reach Seth at 1-800-651-1953 or sgowdy@pivot.com.

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