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Top 10 Tips On How To Crush Your Habits

Top 10 Tips On How To Crush Your Habits

Habits are routines / behaviours that typically occur subconsciously and are notoriously difficult to change.

Not all habits are bad, for example brushing your teeth when you get up and go to bed is routine for most of us and we don’t even think about it – but we certainly can develop bad habits like biting our nails or eating sweets at 10 pm (I’m guilty of this one…).

These bad habits can impact the quality of your life, hinder you from achieving your goals or negatively affect those around you. So as we enter the New Year, this is the perfect time to break some of your bad habits!

The majority of psychologists agree that we form habits through the 3 Rs:

  • Reminder – This is the trigger and is what causes you to perform the action
  • Routine – This the action that’s caused by the trigger.
  • Reward – This is the consequence of your action, so relieving stress or enjoying the taste of chocolate. The reward is what makes you perform the action again and again.

We can use this theory to help us change our habits and here are our top 10 tips on exactly how to do that:

Identify the Bad Habit/s

By definition, habits are performed subconsciously but you’ll have to bring them into awareness in order to change them.

Once you’ve identified the habits you wish to change, be sure to write them down! Actually taking the time to note down these changes will mentally reinforce the idea and will increase your chances of success!

Now I know that we’ve said you can identify multiple habits at once, but we’d urge you to focus on 1-2 habits at a time – taking too much on at once will almost certainly end in failure!

Identify & Cut Out Triggers

As you now know, triggers are the first stage in developing a habit & identifying and removing these can help you change a bad habit.

Some triggers may be difficult to spot, but spending a few days tracking your habit will help identify these. Keep track of what happens just before the habit, what time of day, what are your surroundings? You should then have a clear idea of what causes the bad habit.

For example, you might realise that you only eat biscuits in the evening whenever you have a cup of tea but you don’t get these cravings if you drink water all evening. You can then stop drinking tea in the evening and this will reduce the likelihood of you reaching for those late night biscuits.

Substitute With a Better Habit

While going cold turkey might seem like a quick fix to your bad habit, completely stopping the behaviour usually does not work and often results in a relapse.

Perhaps an easier method is to swap this bad habit with a new, healthier habit. Say you usually head for the processed carbs and sugars whenever you feel stressed, you can try replacing these with fruit or better yet, exercise.

The initial change may be difficult but it will feel rewarding and initiate a release of dopamine in your brain, which will make you want to repeat this action and thus a new, healthier habit begins to develop.

Team Up!

One of the main problems with setting goals and challenges on your own is that if you give up, nobody would ever know – making it quite appealing at times!

Teaming up with a friend gives you both accountability and you can support each other when times are getting tough.

Even if your buddy doesn’t have any habits to break, letting them know about your challenge will increase your chances of success as they can provide guidance and point you in the right direction if you begin to slip.

Set Reminders

Setting reminders will reinforce the fact that you want break a habit and you can leave these at key locations where you may be close to performing the old habit.

For example, to stop late night snacking you can leave sticky notes on the cupboard and fridge reminding you of your new goal!

You can also set reminders on your phone to pop-up at specific times of the day to further reinforce the message, so if you want to start going to bed earlier you can set a reminder to pop-up at 10:30 telling you to make your way upstairs.


Your mind is an extremely powerful tool and it can be used to help break your bad habits too, by simply visualizing yourself doing it!

Spend some time each day imagining yourself in a situation where you may typically perform your bad habit, but this time don’t.

Perhaps after an especially stressful day at work you usually reach for the cigarettes or take-away menu, envisage this situation but imagine yourself going for a run instead.

The more you replay the situation in your head, the more reinforced it is and this increases your chances of success in reality.

Manage Self Talk

Self talk is massive when it comes to motivation and has a huge impact on your mental state.

Negative self talk is debilitating and will likely result in going back into the old habit if not managed, so you should always redirect any negative thoughts by adding a positive spin.

So for example if you’re judging yourself and calling yourself overweight, try to add that at least you’re working towards a healthier lifestyle.

Similarly you should engage in positive self talk to focus on progress that you’ve made, increasing your motivation to continue working towards your goal.

Take Baby Steps

This is difficult for habits like biting your nails, but if possible you should always address your habits in small, achievable steps.

This continuous achievement provides your mind with positive feedback and will help keep you moving forward.

Say you want to stop drinking a glass of wine every night, you can begin by having a glass of wine every other night and then so on. Slowly phasing things out will increase your chances of successfully changing the habit!

Allow for Slip Ups

Pretty self-explanatory, but we are all human and you will have slip ups!

The important thing to remember is that a single slip up does not ruin all the good work you’ve already done!

Lets say you’ve gone 5 days without stress eating, but on the 6th day you do find yourself deep in the fridge – that doesn’t render those previous 5 days useless.

You are well within your rights to feel frustrated if you slip up, but direct that frustration into ‘I will do better tomorrow’ rather than feeling like a failure.

Be Patient

Habits are deeply ingrained in the wiring of your brain and unfortunately are not easy to shake off.

It is argued that habits take 2-3 months to change, but this is of course all personal to you.

Some habits might be easier to break than others, depending on what the habit is, how long you’ve had it, the reward the habit provides and many other factors!

As such, it would be wrong to give yourself a set time to achieve your goal and instead you should just keep track of your progress to ensure you are making positive steps.

Good luck, you can do this!



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