The advice I’m going to give you is probably going to seem counterintuitive. Don’t break bad habits.
You probably have bad habits that you wish you could stop. It might be biting your fingernails, smoking, or something else you know isn’t good for you. Perhaps it is more about something that is going on inside of you that you want to change. Are you worrying too much? Do you stress over things unnecessarily?
Are you ready to give up these bad habits?
Don’t break bad habits. Crowd them out instead.
When you focus on breaking bad habits, you are actually reinforcing the bad habit because you draw your attention to it. You know what it’s like. You decide that you’re going to give up sugar and suddenly everywhere around you is sugar. Commercials for ice cream, donuts in the staff room, and craving you just can’t kick. Eventually you just give in, usually binging and then feeling terrible about what you’ve done. It makes it seem impossible to give up that bad habit.
Instead, I always recommend crowding out a bad habit.
What do I mean by that? Instead of focusing on breaking the bad habit, focus on the new habit you wish to have.
Crowding Out Bad Habits
Figuring out how to crowd out bad habits is easy. The real work is in putting your plan into practice.
- Identify the bad habit you wish to stop or do less of. Some habits can be completely removed from your life, like smoking. Others are simply things to do less of, like worrying.
- Choose a healthy habit as a replacement. If it were smoking, you might choose to drink a glass of water instead. If it were worrying, you might choose to replace your worry with a positive affirmation about that subject.
- Pick a start-date (hint – there’s no time like the present!).
Once you begin, commit to doing your healthy habit when you have a craving for your bad habit or notice yourself doing it. You may want to keep a physical reminder of your healthy habit with you, like an elastic on your wrist or a small stone in your pocket to help remind you.
Have you got a habit you’re ready to break? Let us know how you’ll crowd it out instead.
Photo Credit: JR Goleno | FreeImages.com