It doesn’t matter what it is, breaking a bad habit can be incredibly difficult. Whether you want to stop smoking or you want to stop being lazy and exercise more, here are a few tips and tricks you can use to break any bad habit you may have.
Identify the Triggers
If you want to learn how to quit vaping, the first thing you need to do is understand why you vape. Most bad habits are caused by triggers, ranging from being stressed or anxious to simply being in an environment that leads to you partaking in the bad habit.
Therefore, the first thing you need to do is identify your trigger/s; from there, you can either actively work to avoid these triggers or mitigate them.
Setting goals will help you have an idea of where you want to get to. Do you want to kick your smoking habit in 6 months because that’s the New Year or your birthday, or do you want to be able to run a marathon in 12 weeks, and therefore, you need to quit putting off training?
While these goals don’t have to be super specific, don’t make them too vague, either. If your goals are too vague, you can easily find a reason to change them; using smoking as an example, there’s a very big difference between “ I want to quit in 6 months” and “I want to quit next year.”
Be More Mindful
One of the biggest problems with many bad habits is that we do them without thinking. If you smoke, you probably light up a cigarette or use your vape every time you have 2 minutes to yourself, or if you spend too much time on your phone, it is probably your go-to whenever there is a lull in conversation or if you aren’t fully busy with something.
Being more mindful involves being more aware of when you do your bad habit and what triggers it, as well as thinking about alternatives. In this sense, mindfulness means eliminating the “doing it without thinking about it” aspect.
Replace the Habit
While this won’t work for all habits, it is important to see if there is a replacement for your particular one. Using smoking as an example again, many people have said that simply holding and fidgeting with a pen has helped them quit needing a cigarette.
If you think you eat too much junk or fast food at work, make a snack or lunch at home and take it with you; this will break the habit of needing junk food at work and replace it with a fat, healthier one.
It’s Not All or Nothing
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it is all or nothing. Nine times out of ten, going cold turkey will often lead to a relapse and falling back into old patterns. It is better to have consistent but small improvements instead of two or three days of being perfect and then a week of being back to your old ways.
If you drink too much soda, start with not drinking any between particular times, such as breakfast and dinner. Then, move on to only having soda between 4 pm and 8 pm, then move to only having one or two at dinner, etc. These incremental changes are far easier to maintain as your body adapts to the changes at a pace you can control.
If you ever need an extra bit of motivation or help, the best way to get this is by leaving reminders for yourself. These can be in the form of a sticky note on the fridge or a note you keep in your pocket that you read to yourself. These reminders will help you stay on track, as well as help kick any negative thoughts out your head when you’re feeling like you want to cave.
Another mistake that many people make is that they start far too big and, more often than not, can’t consistently maintain their initial energy. While this point is related to not thinking it is all or nothing, it is still important to know.
Start small, replace soda with sugar-free soda, replace your cigarettes with a vape, whatever it may be, take a small step in the beginning. Once you have “mastered” that step, then you take another one, and so on and so forth.
Finally, you always need to remember to be patient. Most bad habits are formed over many years, meaning it is going to take longer than a week or two to break them. This doesn’t matter, though, your only aim should be to make small changes and improve day by day, not reach your end goal as fast as possible.
Hopefully these tips will not only help you break any bad habit you may have but also stop you from falling back into it. The biggest challenge isn’t breaking the habit, it’s ensuring you never go back to being the person who needed that habit or vice to begin with.