self improvement

How to Break a Habit

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Whenever I talk about how I stopped smoking, how I become a vegetarian or talk about my fitness in posts, I get a fair few comments from readers saying they wish they had the motivation to break their habits, too.

So I thought sharing some things that have helped me to break my bad habits might help some of you.

I’m flawed in many ways. Probably like most people – we’re just human after all.

My flaws seem to be magnified in addiction and obsession.

I see the world in black and white and I hurdle towards things at full force. I obsess, I self-destruct and become addicted to things quickly.

Addiction doesn’t just have to refer to drugs or alcohol and I’ve had many vices throughout the years.

I’m never going to be the type of person to open up completely on this blog about my struggles – I can confirm that I’ve never been a drug addict though!

I’m going to split this topic into two posts. This first post:

How to kick a habit.

and a second post:

How to pick up a healthy habit.

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How to break a habit. 

1. Be clear of your reasons for stopping.

Whether kicking your habit has been something you’ve been considering for a long time, or something you’ve woken up and decided to do on a while, be clear of your reasons for stopping it.

This can give you something to go back and think about in moments of weakness. There are several ways you can keep reminding yourself of your reasons:

  • A sticky note on your mirror or computer monitor.
  • Your phone background.
  • A notice board.
  • Setting reminders in your phone.

Everyone’s reasons are different. I wanted to stop smoking because I didn’t want my skin to grow old before me and I wanted to do everything in my power to minimise the risk of cancer.

I dramatically reduced the amount I drink for health reasons and it was getting the way of my fitness goals. The amount of runs and workouts I’ve cancelled due to hangovers is embarrassing! If I wanted to take fitness seriously, the booze needed to go.

2. Figure out your triggers.

Is it that stressful day at work that makes you reach for a bottle of wine? Is it that strong cup of coffee in morning that makes you want to light a cig?

Whatever situations trigger you to crave your addiction, identify them and plan how you can either avoid the triggers or deal with them in another day.

3. Prepare for setbacks.

The hardest thing about overcoming something isn’t kicking your habit.

The hardest thing is carrying on when you give in.

Having a slip up does not make all the hard work you’ve put into quitting invalid.

Even if it feels that way.

You’re not a failure that’s having to start over from the beginning.

You’re on a journey that has ups and downs. Pick yourself up and carry right where you lift off.

4. Stop waiting for the right time.

I have exams next week, I have a wedding next month, I’m going on holiday soon, work is really stressful right now.

Life is always going to throw you obstacles and things that might make it harder for you. Stop waiting for the perfect moment because it won’t come.

Jump straight on in.

5. Set small goals.

Break up your main goal into smaller goals. It makes it seem more achievable than chasing after the end result, especially if it’s something that’s going to take months to achieve.

For example, if you want to stop drinking, set a goal such as go 7 days without drinking, or only drink on weekends.

This breaks things down into easier, bitesize chunks that feel less overwhelming.

6. Stay accountable.

You know what I do when I set myself a goal?

I’m loud about it.

I posts about it on my blog, I make the announcement to my work colleagues, I tell my housemates. This means that if I give up, I have to hold my hands up to these people and say I failed.

Some people find this makes things harder for them and adds pressure. But find out how you can keep yourself accountable and do what’s best for you.

7. Don’t let others belittle your efforts.

Whatever habit you are kicking, it might not seem like massive deal to someone else.

Someone who has never used alcohol to cope with stress might not think it’s a big deal to only drink on a Saturday night, but for you that’s a massive achievement.

I’ve never had the habit of biting my nails, so growing my nails is something I take for granted but I’m sure there are many people who struggle to keep their hands away from their mouth!

They’ll always be people who try to belittle you, or try to make your efforts seem pointless.

They’re dicks. Ignore them.

8. Live through others experience.

There are thousands and thousands of blogs out there on almost every topics you can think of.

Find yourself some blogs by people going through the same things as you and bookmark them.

I always find reading blogs about peoples personal experience helps much more than just Googling ‘how to stop smoking’ for example.

It’s the feelings, progression, set backs and achievements of others that really motivate me to stay on back.

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What habits are you trying to kick?

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1. noun: a female blogger that writes about her own experiences, observations and opinions. 2. verb: to act like a complete idiot or to do something stupid. e.g: She did a Corinne.

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