They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit (which seems optimistic to us). Is there anything else you can to improve your chances?
Most of us are creatures of routine. From what we do after work to what we eat, it’s easy to get stuck in a habit. Doing something different? Ugh, effort.
But when you do decide you need a change, it is possible. You just need to have the right mindset. It does take a bit of work but if you want to get rid of a habit you can. Habits are really just patterns of behaviour. Often we don’t even really think about them, they just happen. And that leads us to step number one:
1) Wake your brain up
It takes effort but keep your brain switched on so you can get ahead of your behaviour. If you feel like you have that one glass of wine every night, and you want to stop that habit, don’t keep wine in the house. If you spend every night on the couch, put your trainers by the door and persuade yourself to get that walk in before you hit the sofa.
2) Find a substitute
You need to fill that time or headspace until you don’t want to do your habit thing anymore. Expect you’re going to want to do the thing, and make sure you have a back-up for those times. Nail biter? Try giving your mouth something else to do (ooh-er), like chewing gum. Smoker? Distract yourself until the craving passes – the gum trick might work here too. Drinker? Get a mocktail or a soda water, rather than being empty handed.
3) Use the If-Then method
The if-then technique can be a big help as it helps you work out a plan of action ahead of time. For example: if shopping too much is your bad habit you could try: ‘If I go into town, then I will only go to one shop’ or ‘If I go onto the New Look website sale, then I will only buy two items.’ It helps you work out what you’ll do when confronted with your triggers – and hopefully help you get a grip on the problem too.