“How do I break bad habits?” is a question I get asked a lot.
We all have “bad habits” or habits that don’t serve us well. Maybe they are unhealthy or they might limit your productivity. Your bad habit might even interfere with your personal growth or performance in some way. If you’re noticing that you have a habit that does any of those things, it may be time to break it.
Breaking a bad habit is very similar to building new habits, except in reverse. As we know, building a new habit involves removing barriers, obstacles, and friction. However, in breaking bad habits, we need to do the exact opposite. That means placing barriers, obstacles, and friction in between you and the habit you are hoping to break. This small act then makes it more difficult to engage in the habit you are trying to break.
Like many of you, I too have had several habits that I’ve needed to break. Most recently, I’ve developed a habit of eating too many of my absolute favorite dessert treats at the end of my day. Once I realized this was becoming a problem, I decided that instead of eating 2-3 of these per night, I’d rather limit it to one. What I decided to do was remove my desserts from the freezer in my kitchen and place them all in the freezer in my basement. What this did was place a barrier between myself and the desserts, and as a result it decreased the likelihood of myself making a second or third trip to the basement for more.
Here’s another example. Maybe you have a habit of hitting “snooze” in the morning when your alarm goes off. You set your alarm for 6am, hit snooze one too many times, and before you know it- it's 7am. How can you break this habit? Think of ways to put more barriers, obstacles, and friction between you and the snooze button. This might mean removing your alarm from within arm’s reach and moving it further away, i.e. across the room or in a different room completely. This would place a barrier, obstacle, or friction between you and the habit you want to break.
Are you feeling ready to form better habits and work toward your personal development goals?
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Dr. Amber Thornton
Clinical Psychologist | Personal Development Consultant | Cultural Diversity Consultant
© Dr. Amber Thornton Consulting, LLC 2019
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