We've heard this statement before that it takes 21 days to make a habit. So if you do a good thing (like exercise or drink water with your dinner) for 21 days in a row, it will become a habit. Easy, right? Well, it will become part of your routine. And if you feel better because of it, hopefully you'll stick with it and it will become part of your lifestyle.
The problem is, it doesn't work so well for breaking a habit. Trying NOT to do something for 21 days is not the same thing. It's much harder. It takes much more will power. AND even after staying away from a bad habit for years, one slip can cause it to return, very similar to an addiction.
So here I offer some helpful ways to break a bad habit:
- Pick one bad habit and concentrate on it.
- Be specific, have a plan, and write it down.
- Replace the bad behavior with a good one, especially when a craving to be bad strikes.
- Check in with yourself - have checkpoints or goal measurements, or even a chart just to check off that you did good today.
- Reward yourself with something special (NOT a cheat day to do your bad habit just this once - it defeats the purpose!)
- Don't be too hard on yourself if you do slip up - it happens, just keep trying!
Now I need to pick one for myself to work on... so many to choose from!
Have a great weekend, everyone!
(Research source: How Stuff Works)