Breaking Those Bad Habits Once and For All

If you’ve clicked on this, there’s a high chance you’ve got one of those pesky bad habits that keep holding you back. And no, we’re not just talking about that inexplicable love for Marmite or queuing up for almost anything. There are many habits, big or small, that can, frankly, be a right pain. So, put the kettle on, grab your favourite biscuit, and let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of ditching those naughty routines for good.

1. Identify the ‘Why’

Behind every bad habit, there’s a sneaky reason it stuck around. Nail biting? Maybe it’s a stress response. Spending too long on your phone? Might be boredom. Once you figure out the ‘why’, it’s easier to tackle the ‘how’.

2. Swap it, Don’t Stop it

Going cold turkey can be challenging. Instead, think about replacing the bad habit with a better one. Swapping that 4th cup of coffee for a glass of water, or perhaps trading some social media time for reading a chapter of a book. (Go on, pick up that dusty novel you’ve been meaning to read.)

3. Make it Tricky

If you’re trying to stop munching on those chocolate digestives, don’t buy them during your next Tesco run. If you want to spend less time on your phone, put it on the top shelf. The harder you make it for yourself to indulge in the bad habit, the less likely you are to do it.

4. Rope in a Mate

Everyone’s got that one friend who’s brutally honest about everything in life, right? Enlist them. Share your goal and ask them to give you a gentle nudge (or a stern talking-to) if you waver. Plus, a bit of friendly competition never hurt anyone.

5. Break It Down

You wouldn’t try to eat a whole Victoria sponge in one go (or would you?), so treat your bad habits the same way. Chunk down the big goal into smaller, manageable bits. Before you know it, the whole ‘cake’ of bad habits will be devoured. For example, if you want to give up smoking, instead of going cold turkey, cut down by one cigarette a day then get to and start vaping, then reduce the amount of nicotine you vape, and so on, until the habit is well and truly broken!

6. Reward Thyself

No, we don’t mean with another cheeky pint or that bag of crisps. Instead, set up little treats for yourself as you hit milestones. Maybe a nice day out or a splurge on something you’ve had your eye on.

7. Visualise the Better You

Imagine yourself without the bad habit. How does it feel? Marvellous? Well, use that as your motivation. Picture the end game every time you’re tempted to fall back into old patterns.

8. Journal It

Sounds a tad American, but bear with us. Write down when you give in to your habits, and you might start to see patterns. Plus, it can be quite therapeutic. So, grab that pen and paper!

9. Use Tech Wisely

There are tons of apps these days designed to help you break habits. Whether it’s tracking how often you do something, reminding you not to, or even blocking certain apps/sites, there’s probably an app for it.

10. Accept the Odd Slip

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t become a beacon of perfect habits overnight either. If you slip up, don’t chuck it all in the bin. Recognise the blip, understand why it happened, and hop right back on the wagon.

Habits were built for breaking, so now is the time to smash through yours!

Rachel Bartee

Rachel Bartee is a blogger and freelance writer dreaming of a tour round the world to write a story of her greatest life adventure. For the time being, she feels inspired by her daily yoga sessions and studies Interpersonal Relationships.