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We all have negative behaviors we wish to change. Whether you want to lose weight, quit smoking or just want to make your new year resolutions stick this time around, continue reading this article and learn how to stop bad habits effectively.
Research has shown that 2/3 of people on diets regain their weight back within 1 year and that 97% of them regain it back within 5. If you look at other statistics such as quitting smoking and almost any other habitual negative process, you will see that the numbers are pretty much the same.
This is mostly due to ignorance towards the way our behaviors are created resulting in the inefficient “will power” path most take to struggle with addictions and bad habitual behaviors.
If you’re looking for a quick fix to get rid of negative behaviors then you have come to the wrong place. There is no magic cure to vanish bad habits. You didn’t create them in one day and they won’t go away within a couple of hours and any one promising you otherwise is doing you a huge disservice.
That being said, there are effective ways you can understand and learn the psychology behind how to stop bad habits and create effective ways to replace them with more positive ones.
As you start applying the ideas you are about to read, breaking these patterns of behavior can become much easier and the effects will last a lifetime.
What are Habits Really?
It’s always interesting to me that habits get such a bad rap. I guess it’s just one of those human habits to focus more on problems than the solutions they can bring.
The fact is that habits are neither good nor bad they are simply a part of our learning mechanism and for the most part serve us immensely every moment of the day.
Imagine having to wake up every morning and learn every skill you ever acquired again throughout your life.
Would you get anything done? Probably not…
I bet you’d be scared to open your eyes and get out of bed without knowing there was floor underneath you. Even simple tasks like walking would prove to be a huge challenge.
To learn how to stop bad habits you must first stop condemning this natural process
The thing is, sometimes throughout our lives we acquire skills that stop serving us at certain points or that we abuse yet continue to automatically do.
Why are Bad Habits Created?
To understand how to stop bad habits, you must first understand why they are created in the first place and also attached so strongly to you psyche.
In 2001 I was called to give my 3 years of service in the army like most young people in my country. Being an athlete and physically fit, I was assigned to be an infantry troop in one of the harshest and brutal times of the second Intifada.
At one point I was sent to a small desolated base near the Gaza strip to act as a medic for a month and assist a small group of troops. As most novice servicemen, I had to take part in guard duty on a regular basis.
While arriving at the base it was brought to my attention that 3 days previous a couple of soldiers in a neighboring outpost a few miles away were slaughtered with knives during the night and to be on my highest alert.
This horrible piece of information was not helpful when I had to spend 8 hours the next night alone in guard duty and caused a strong feeling of anxiety build inside of me.
Feeling I had no other choice at the time my mind started racing looking for a way to calm down. A fellow soldier who became aware of my stress gave me a pack of Marlboro cigarettes to calm my nerves.
The funny thing is that even though I had been very much against smoking until that day, I was at my wits end and took the pack. I also finished the whole damn thing during the night sitting in the dark and waiting patiently for my appending doom.
Of course I promised myself that it would only be this one time, but as promises go, this new acquired habit for relaxation had turned into 10 years hard battle.
From that day on every time I felt my anxiety and stress levels raise I would light one up. It didn’t take long before it became a strong anchored habit.
I used to try to forcibly stop this bad habit through sheer will power, but every time I did my anxiety levels would rocket up and I would subsequently smoke to relieve them.
The reason I tell you this story is that you understand that before you can learn how to stop bad habits, you must first grasp that they almost always originate from some emotional compensation that for a while helped you regain your balance.
It took me a while to understand that I had to change my emotional responses to situations and substitute the smoking with other tools to lower stress and anxiety.
Finding this emotional cause is the fastest way of how to stop a bad habit and replace it with a positive one.
How to Stop bad Habits and Create New Positive Ones
Slow The Momentum:
Turning a car around that’s rushing down the freeway doing 120 MPH o can prove to be quite difficult because of the momentum of movement. To turn the car, you would probably first slow down first and then turn.
Habits have momentum too and that’s usually the reason why they seem so hard to change. The more you focus on them, the faster they go. If you are in the habit of over eating and starting a diet, obsessing on food and how much you want it will simply push the pedal to the metal.
Normally what’s interesting is that we tend to think of these negative activities as something we do all the time. But giving it some more thought you will find that most of the time you aren’t participating it but simply thinking about it.
I didn’t smoke all the time, but I sure as hell focused on it allot, especially when I tried to quite.
Replace Old with New:
That’s where replacing a bad habit with another activity came in very handy. You see, there are thousands of roads leading to any emotional destination. Replacing the road proves many times to be very effective.
If you are suffering from high levels of stress there are many different ways to relax yourself either than smoking: Sports, meditation, a hot bath, taking a nap and so on…
Once you open up to the possibility of change, then you will start finding endless opportunities and ideas for effective activities.
After that all you have to do is practice the new acquired skill for a period and you will start observing huge changes in your behaviors and cravings.
30 Days Make a Big Difference:
The Chinese have a saying “3 days of practice start change. 3 weeks of practice create change for 3 years. 3 years of practice create change for a lifetime”
It has been proven by scientific research that it takes the mind repeated practice of 21-30 days to create a new habit.
To learn how to stop a bad habit, you must replace it with a positive one and practice it for at least 30 days to start anchoring it and avoiding the ricochet effect.
Recap of how to stop bad habits and creating positive ones:
As mentioned above to change any repeating negative skill you acquired throughout life and create lasting change you must follow the following steps:
- Identify the emotional reason it started in the first place
- Find a new positive habit to achieve the same emotional release
- Practice this new skill for 30 and more.
This simplistic approach has helped me in changing many negative reactions and effects going on in my life. Follow these steps and you will learn the art of how to stop a bad habit without ricocheting back every time.
If you want to understand more about how to stop bad habits and quire effective tools for success and happiness in life then subscribe below now with your name and Email to my personal development galore newsletter and receive hundreds of FREE materials that will sky rocket your life to new heights.