Breaking Bad Habits


How do habits begin? When you think about the different habits you have, do you wonder how they started? We do hundreds of things each day with very little thought behind them. We are functioning on autopilot.

What about bad habits like eating with your mouth open or always running late? Many times we do not know what has caused or created these “bad habits.” However there is something that we can do to change them.

Often when confronted with something that is considered negatively by others, such as always having a messy work space or chronic lateness, a person will respond “it is just the way I am.” Actually, these are bad habits.

Habits can be broken, but first one has to acknowledge that the habit exists and that they want to stop it. There are many theories on how to successfully break a habit, The one below, I know have worked for me, as well as for some of my colleagues.

1. Write a clear description of the habit that you wish to change: “My workspace is always messy.”

2. Using the written description now write a positive statement about the habit in present tense: “My work space is always clean.”

3. Print up the positive statement and post it in multiple places that you will see every day. The more you see it, the more the message is driven into your thoughts.

4. Repeat the positive statement several times to yourself at night before you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning.

Doing this every day for approximately 5 weeks without fail and that bad habit will be a thing of the past. Keeping a copy of the habit you wanted to change and the positive statement around for several months after the habit is broken is a good reminder that you can accomplish positive change in your life.

Below is a link to Stuart Young’s blog. Stu has written an excellent book titled “How to Change Your Life One day at a Time.” Take a look at his blog; he has a lot of great insight on this topic. His book is an excellent source if you want to make lasting changes in your life.

How to change your life one day at a time


2 thoughts on “Breaking Bad Habits

  1. Thanks Tina, I appreciate the mention (plug). 🙂 One thing I’d add to this insightful post is identify what the benefit of the existing habit is. If it is a messy desk, then the benefit may turn out to be – leaving stuff all over the place saves me looking for stuff that needs to be done and acts as a reminder to me (this could very well be my own excuse). Now, find a way to still get that benefit when you have a tidy desk.
    Unless we replace the benefit of a bad habit, it will just creep back up on us at a later date. 🙂

    • Hi Stu, I do agree somewhat with the messy desk theory, but not for myself. I think that you have so much to offer people and will try to mention your book and site whenever it fits into what I am posting. 🙂

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