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11 Ways to Give Up Bad Habits

Ways to Give Up Bad Habits
Discover how to overcome harmful patterns with 11 practical tips. Identify the causes, swap bad habits for good ones, set reminders, and celebrate progress. Deal with setbacks, modify your surroundings, and evaluate the benefits. Boost your motivation with achievements, and be patient through the change process toward self-improvement.

Introduction

Habits are acquired behaviors or thought patterns, that we repeat so often that they become automatic. We form habits because they free our minds to do other things that require our attention. A habit is an action that we do so often that it almost becomes an involuntary response. If this habit becomes undesirable, we can consider it a “bad habit”. A bad habit is a recurring, often unconscious behavior acquired through repeated repetition or an established disposition of mind or character. Also, bad habits can result from a habitual pattern or practice, which can become an addiction.

Giving up bad habits can be a challenging but rewarding journey toward self-improvement. Bad habits can erode moral values in a Muslim’s life. They mess up good values, making it tough to follow Islamic teachings. These habits mess with self-control, make a person’s character not so good, and take them away from what Allah wants. They distract from praying, helping others, and becoming better, stopping them from living a truly good life as Islam teaches.

The Making of a Habit

There are some theories about the development of habits. 3 Rs idea is one of them:

Reminder

It’s a trigger or cue, that can be a conscious behavior, such as a feeling like panic.

Routine

This is the behavior associated with the trigger. Such as biting your nails signals panic. Doing something over and over again can make a behavior routine.

Reward

A reward attached to the behavior also helps to maintain the habit. If you do something you enjoy or relieve anxiety, the pleasurable release of dopamine in your brain can make you want to do it again.

11 Ways to Stop Bad Habits

Habits can be hard to give up when they become hard-wired into our brains after so many repetitions, but there are 11 ways to give up bad habits.

1. Identify your Triggers

Every habit has a trigger, or prompt, that tells you to do the action. We are not always aware of what our motivations are, so take the time to identify them. These questions may help:

  • Do you do your routine at a specific time of day?
  • How many times a day do you do your habit?
  • Where are you when you do this?
  • What are you feeling before doing this?

Use these questions to help you identify what triggers you to engage in your habit. For example, if you often eat cookies at home, is it only when you get stressful news? Or maybe your trigger is just looking at the cookie jar when you walk by your kitchen. Whatever it is, document all your motivations somewhere, and then move on to the next step.

2. Ask why you want to Change

Suggests that it may be easier to change your behavior when the change you want to make is valuable or beneficial to you. Take a few minutes to think about why you want to break this habit and what benefits you see as a result of this change. Listing these reasons can help you think of a few things that haven’t occurred to you yet.

3. Replacing Bad Habits with Positive Ones

You developed the habit for a reason, and it filled a need or provided relief. Instead, it may be more beneficial to replace your bad habit with a good, or at least better, habit. However, a brand new habit doesn’t matter how it makes you feel. The goal will be to make you feel good about your choice and your new habit. You want to make sure that the new habit doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself.

4. Leave yourself Reminders

If you’re determined to give up your bad habits, it’s best to leave yourself visual reminders wherever you are. You can use stickers or colored sticky notes. If you find yourself constantly forgetting to close your bedroom door, you can put a note on your door reminding you to always close it. Here are some ideas:

  • Want to give up the habit of drinking soda with every meal? Try leaving little stickers on your refrigerator that you’ll see when you reach for the bin.
  • Trying to remember to turn off the lights when you leave the room? Leave a note for yourself on a light switch or door.
  • Want to start keeping your keys in a designated place so you stop losing them so often? Leave a dish for your keys in the first place so you’ll see them when you get back home.

5. Prepare for slip-ups

Giving up a bad habit can be difficult, although you may find some habits easier to shake than others. Try to mentally prepare to slip up so you don’t feel guilty or discouraged if you do. Maybe you commit to writing three bullet points about how you feel as you practice or do a quick breathing exercise. Try to learn from your slip-ups. Be honest with yourself about what caused the setback, and consider whether changing your perspective might help you stay more on track.

6. Don’t forget progress

Progress is key when it comes to overcoming bad habits. Recognizing and celebrating even the smallest steps forward can be incredibly motivating. Each step away from a bad habit is a victory in itself. It’s all part of the journey towards improvement. Tracking progress, acknowledging achievements, and staying committed to the process are essential elements in the pursuit of breaking those habits.

7. Start with Small Changing

Taking small steps can be a great way to give up bad habits. Sometimes, trying to do too much at once can be overwhelming. By making small changes, it’s easier to get started and build momentum. For example, if you’re trying to eat healthier, you could begin by adding one extra serving of veggies to your meals each day. These little adjustments can eventually lead to bigger changes over time.

8. Change your Environment

Your next step is to remove as many triggers as possible by changing your environment. Adjust your environment to reduce triggers. That way you won’t get as many cues to engage in unhealthy habits. Involve your family or those you live with so they can better support your adjustment to your environment.

9. Analyzing the Reward of Breaking Bad Habit

By understanding what you’re looking for from your bad habits, you can find healthier and more fulfilling ways to give up bad habits and get the rewards you want. Here are some steps to identify rewards that reinforce bad habits:

Keep chasing: Write down when you engage in a bad habit and what happened before and after.

Ask yourself why: When you find yourself indulging in a bad habit, ask yourself why you are doing it. Questions like “What do I get out of this?” and “What if I stop?” Can give insight into the potential rewards behind the behavior.

Experiment with alternative rewards: Try different but healthy things that satisfy the same basic desire or need. For example, instead of scrolling through social media to relieve boredom, you can go for a walk while listening to your favorite album or podcast.

10. Motivate yourself with the Reward of Changes

Giving up bad habits can be incredibly difficult. Keep track of how far you’ve come, and try to reward yourself along the way. Even small motivations, like telling yourself what a great job you’re doing, can boost your confidence and increase your drive to keep trying. When you focus on your progress, you’re less likely to engage in discouragement or negative self-talk, both of which can greatly impact your motivation.

11. Be Patient

Change takes time, and you may mess up from time to time. No one is perfect, but remember that consistency is the key to success. Over time, new brain connections can be made, and new habits can be formed. Don’t be so hard on yourself for slip-ups, just take it one day at a time.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you can now identify your bad habits and what your cues, reactions, and rewards might be for them. Change is never easy, but a good start to give up bad habits can be raising your awareness. It’s easy to get stuck on how our bad habits make us feel, but it can be more helpful to try to make a change instead. You can start tracking how often your bad habit occurs each day. This can help you understand where you are and provide a starting point.

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