Habits define our lives ‒ good ones and bad ones ‒ and bad habits weigh heavy in anyone’s life where they have a profound effect. Habits can also be very challenging to change as they are not based on attentive choices, which makes it difficult to think logical about changing your behavior.

To be able to change any habit (good or bad ones), you need a multi-faceted approach.

It is even more of a challenge to change a bad habit, so in the event that you are unable to change or get rid of a bad habit, here are some tips that can help you break free of them:

  1. Allow a month. In just 30 days you will be able to eliminate an old, negative habit (bad habit) by creating a new, positive habit in its place. All you need to do, is work at it and do the best you can ‒ every day ‒ for just one month. If you slip back into the old habit, chances are that your strategy is not living up to the challenge.
  2. Put a new habit in its place. If it were that easy, life would have been a bore. It will be almost impossible to simply drop it without wanting to replace what you have given up. Think carefully about what benefits you had from your old (bad) habit and look for a positive replacement that gives you the same advantage. If you don’t replace the benefit, it might become a constant battle.
  3. Take it one challenge ‒ one bad habit ‒ at a time. A good example would be to try and overhaul what and how you eat and exercise, your spending habits and your smoking all at once. Take one and work at it for a whole month. After that, tackle a second one as soon as you are satisfied that you have broken the previous bad habit.
  • Don’t try to hurry it. Take into account what it would mean to you once you have overcome say four of your worst habits. That means it is only four months down the line. In relation to how long you have had them, that is lightning quick!
  1. Take a scientific approach. Leave behind all the emotional struggles and approach the challenge like a scientist would. Your attitude should be thinking if the (bad) habit can be replaced. Theorize on how things will be if it turns out positively. Be inquisitive as if you were doing a lab experiment ‒ it would cause much less drama and prejudice that way.
  2. Get rid of all your ‘triggers’. If it’s your eating habits, get all the junk food items out of your kitchen. If it is smoking cigarettes, refrain from going to places you have always smoked. Spending ‒ avoid venues that might tempt you to spend more money than you are prepared to. Habits are almost reflexes ‒ they don’t take a lot of consideration or careful thought. Stay out of the danger zone.
  3. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes it might take a few attempts to get to grips with your new habit. All you need to do is to keep on improving your approach and keep at it.
  4. Jog your memory continuously. It will be very easy to forget to fall in line with your new habit. Put a reminder on your phone if you are for instance going to start walking or jogging or going to the gym every day. If your new habit is flossing your teeth every day, put out the floss where you can see it every time you use the bathroom.
  5. Tell friends and family. Your loved ones can do a lot to help you get to your goals. If they see you going for the ice-cream or desert or fat steak, they will say something. They’ll stop offering you a cigarette or speak out if you go on a smoke break. Get everyone to help you.
  6. Be constant. If your bad habit is watching TV and you have decided to start exercising regularly, attempt to go for a walk each day at the same time you would have spread out on the couch. This will be much easier than exercising three times a week. Perform your new replacement habit on a daily basis.
  7. Don’t forget the pain. Remind yourself on a daily basis what it would mean if you didn’t break your bad habit. Visualize yourself as a non-smoker or with a fit, lean body or whatever the outcome would be.
  8. Zoom in on the pleasure. Also ask yourself daily what it would mean if you completely eradicated your bad habit. Always visualize the possible outcome of your new habit.

Nothing puts the brakes on your progress like bad habits. Use these handy tips and guidelines to allow yourself a great opportunity to get rid of your bad habits constructively and replace them with more useful habits. There is no better feeling in the world than knowing you have regained control over your life

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Dr. Hannes Dreyer
Dr. Hannes Dreyer

Hannes is one of the world’s leading authorities in Wealth Creation. As a speaker and author on the subject he is at the forefront of this personal development industry. He is the founder of the Wealth Creators University and the Wealth Creators Method. The University is a private education organisation based on the culmination of 30 years of experience, research and study into finances, economics, psychology and philosophy.