Let's break the bad habit!
Last month I wrote about forming new good habits.
Brilliant I hear you say but how do I break some of those bad habits that have crept into my life
Well, you don’t need to wait as I am going into the 4 steps to breaking a bad habit.
These are based on James Clear’s Atomic Habits
Before I start on how to break a bad habit, let’s go through the Habit Loop
There are four stages to this loop
Cue – that triggers the brain Craving – the motivational force Response – the actual habit Reward – that either satisfies us or rewards us
Cue and Craving are the stages associated with the Problem.
Response and Reward are the stages associated with the Solution
I use this technique with my clients, so follow me over the next few days to get tips on how to break a bad habit.
There are 4 steps to breaking a bad habit
1st step is Making it Invisible
Reduce your exposure to the habit. Remove the cue of your bad habit from your environment.
When it comes to eating foods that are full of sugar, fat and salt, then you can stop buying them.
Not having them in the house will stop you grabbing them. If you have them in the house because others want them, then don’t have them on show.
Don’t put them on your desk when working.
2nd step of breaking a bad habit is Making it Unattractive
Reframe your mindset. Highlight the benefits of avoiding your bad habit.
When it comes to healthy eating, don’t think of depriving yourself, but think that if you don’t eat the foods that are full of fat, sugar and salt that in the long run, you will be healthier, less tired, less likely to have a stroke, heart attack or develop diabetes.
Think of the long-term plan of what you will have if you don’t reach for foods that don’t give you the nutrients you require.
The jeans that don’t fit, will fit you by Christmas.
The dress you brought that “you will fit into soon”.
You can run with your kids/grandchildren.
3rd step of breaking a bad habit.
Making it Difficult
Increase the number of steps between you and the bad habit. Use a commitment tool and limit your future choices to the ones that will benefit you in the long term.
When it comes to healthy eating, I used to make sure that any treats in the house were stored away in the garage!!
OK slightly drastic, but the thought of putting on shoes and a coat in winter would stop me!
I used to track how well I was doing not eating unhealthy food. Tick off each day I didn’t drink wine or reach for a bar of chocolate.
I only have healthy options in the house, so I don’t have a wide choice of snacks. The same goes for alcohol – I only buy it when I want to drink.
The 4th and final step is Making it Unsatisfying.
Get an accountability partner who will watch your behaviour and support you.
Maybe have a contract with that partner and pay money when you break the contract.
Maybe not to the partner but a charity!!
When I was losing weight, I had a nutritionist who was my accountability partner. Now I am the accountability partner to my clients.
If these hints and tips to breaking bad habits were useful to you and you want more hints and tips for healthy eating and lifestyle habits, then come and join my free Facebook group