Do you want to break a particular habit? Are you the one who tried so many time to break up with habit but eventually give into the temptation? Are you the one who bites nails? Are you the one who tried quitting smoking yet couldn’t? Are you the one who chew hairs? Unrelatedly what your habit is, or how deeply embedded it is, the process of breaking it is a series of simple steps. Yes, simple steps yet analytical. Now before we start addressing these steps I want all of you to give it a good read otherwise it won’t help. Let’s start:
Step 1: Know Your Why?
This step is the most crucial step that will decide on how long you sustain your journey of breaking a habit successfully. Now you all must be wondering why I am emphasizing so much in “know your why?” The reason is straightforward; we all want a reason to do a task. Until and unless we have a reason or a desire our chances of breaking the habit is not very high. Many of us commit this mistake, embark on the path of breaking a habit without any particular reasons or without being certain why they want to change it. We all have to understand this; knowing your why is the foundation of this journey, and we all know this while making a building the vital part in the process is its foundation. And it is kind of intuitive what will happen if the foundation of the building is not strong the same will happen in a case of your journey of habit-breaking. You should have to have a vision, a burning desire within you regarding it, then only you can expect to win.
Step 2: Understanding The Behaviour Of Habit.
Most of our habitual actions are the pattern that has evolved due to various reasons. If you introspect on your habitual actions, you get to know why you keep on doing a task in a particular period of time. You keep on doing things after knowing that you shouldn’t have done because they have been rewarded in some way. You have to write down all the benefits that you are getting with a habit, then only you can expect to break the habit loop. Benefits like do you feel relaxed, lighter, happy, confident, sense of instant gratification etc.
Step 3: Knowing Your Triggers.
After completing step 2 you are clear about the nature or behaviour of habit, you can now work on knowing the triggers or activators. Let us understand what trigger actually is in the context of habits.
A trigger is something that reminds you of a past event and brings about your emotional or physical response as a result. Triggers can actually be kindled by any of the five senses-touch, smell, taste, hearing, or sight. Sometimes it brings up blissful memories like your childhood crush or you playing up with your friends but sometimes it also brings up moments that prompt shortcomings, frustrations, regrets, losses, bad childhood impressions, trauma etc. You can understand its effectiveness just by observing how it actually affects your mood when you are in a good mood it abruptly changes the whole scenario and make you feel bad out of nowhere.
What you have to do now is whatever bad habit you want to get rid of try to see what are the triggers around you that invoke the urge of doing it. But believe me, you have to analyze it deeply. To make things easier let me present you with a story;
A boy names Azad wanted to get rid of his habit of smoking. However, every time he tries, he ends up giving in to his temptation. Then somebody told him you should focus on all the triggers that invoke your smoking habit. By the time he started observing, he noticed there is a particular time interval for which he has this urge of smoking. He noticed on his way back from college to his home, his temptation to smoke hits the highest point, if he was able to restrict his urge at this particular time span, gradually his temptation would start falling off. Therefore, he started to make a note of it, when he felt the urge to perform his habit and eventually he restrained himself.
Therefore, what you have to do now, be aware of your triggers, which in turns evokes your temptations and try to make a hindrance plan to not fall for your temptations again.
Step 4: Make A Realistic Plan
Many people think as if they have no purpose. They work hard with full of their dedication yet don’t see themselves in a position worthwhile. But this is not the reality. And this is where a person should realize there is some problem in his thought process. Here in our case where we want to break our habit, it is really important to understand the importance of making a feasible or achievable goal.
Since you have understood the situations that invoke or triggers a particular habit, now you can work upon the situations where you can try to minimize the habit triggers. And when I say make a plan which is feasible what it really means is sometimes we make a plan to wholly stop a particular habit as if it was never the part of your life. Do not commit a mistake to make a plan where you have already given up on a habit because if you will accept this in advance your chances of breaking a habit will be less likely and if that happens it not only gives you a sense of failure but also it invokes a feeling of guilt within you that you started something and not finished, in some of the cases where people tried hard in giving up their addiction such as smoking when asked from them they said now they have no will power and that is the only reason that they do not want to try again even after knowing it has a detrimental effect in their life.
What you have to do; make a plan where you give scope for failure. Yes, you have to make a plan where you can commit a mistake. Don’t be too harsh in yourself if you do it again, in fact, you should embrace this thought that nothing is perfect in this world, in fact, there are flaws in everyone just accept it and move on with your plan.
You have to make a plan where you can keep yourself accountable firstly with yourself and secondly with others. Share your plan with people around you so that they can help you in this endeavour. Your chances of getting success are more likely when you hold yourself accountable to someone, in fact, a person of high importance, in fact, whom you look up to.
Step 4: Visualize
In your mind, repeatedly practice the visuals as if you have already started doing the desired behaviour rather than the bad habit. Try to imagine those situations where you more likely tempted to choose undesired outcomes and at that instance try to choose a better option. For instance; if your goal is to get fit, imagining yourself in the gym doing a workout or any physical activity will definitely reinforce positive behaviour pattern in your outcome.
Step 5: Change Your Surrounding
Researches state that even after people trying hard to give up on a habit but due to the environment or surrounding they perform that habit. For instance, a person who is trying hard to break the habit of smoking, he will less likely to succeed if his friend circle does the same activity. Now some of you might be thinking that what should he do then, look as I already mentioned breaking up a habit is not as easy as it seems you have to have will power, you have to make conscious choices, sometimes you fail but you have to realize again this the part of whole plan. You cannot control the surrounding outside, true, but let me tell you only you are the master of the surrounding which is within you. You don’t need to split up with your old friends entirely, but finding some new ones who live the way you want to can help minimize triggers.
Step 6: Make An Appreciation System
After successfully achieving a part of your plan, for instance; you ate healthy food during a week, what you can do you can give yourself appreciation by having chocolate, or a cake. The best way to carry on your plan of breaking the habit, to reward yourself for good behaviour. The most successful reward will be one that comes immediately after the desired behaviour, and which is something you genuinely want or enjoy. Keep on rewarding yourself until and unless there is no need for that reward. For instance; if you are trying to break the habit of being late for work, what you could do, you could recompensate yourself with a cup of strong coffee each day you arrive on time until the reward is no longer needed.
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