How To Kick Bad Habits

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Smoking, drinking, eating sugary foods, biting your nails, watching hours of TV, we all have bad habits we want to kick. But bad habits are notoriously hard to stop and replace with good habits.

So what's the trick?

Here are 4 steps you can try to bid farewell to your unhelpful habits:

1. Replace a bad habit with a good habit

As habit expert James Clear points out, Because bad habits provide some type of benefit in your life, it's very difficult to simply eliminate them. So he suggests that rather than quit cold turkey, you need to replace the bad behavior with one that brings a similar benefit.

For instance, if you eat chocolate every time you're stressed, replace that habit with your favorite tea, a bubble bath, or a walk around the block ,whatever makes sense to you. Over time your brain will be retrained to do the good behavior when stress arises.

2. Be realistic

If it takes 10 years to build your smoking habit, it will take longer than a day to stop. So we have to be realistic about our habits and how we can improve them. Set yourself an achievable goal, and take small steps towards it. Maybe instead of 15 cigarettes a day, tomorrow you have 14. The next day 13. And so on until you have cut down significantly.

3. Talk to yourself

Next time you catch yourself indulging in a bad behavior, ask yourself out loud, Why am I doing this? Is it because you're bored, or stressed, or anxious? Really become aware of each action you take and why you take it. Coach yourself and be your own champion for healthy habits.

4. Reward yourself

After all that hard work, you deserve a treat. It?s not easy kicking a bad habit, so take the time to congratulate yourself. It could be a trip to the movies, a new item of clothing, or dinner out. Just make sure it's not a reward that's linked to your old bad habit!

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