How to stop a bad habit permanently
One bad habit. For a lot of us, that’s all it takes to make our lives miserable. For some, it might be smoking. For others, drinking coffee in the afternoon. And for others still, maybe it’s biting your nails or pulling out your hair. But for most of us, bad habits can start small and grow over time until they’ve made a noticeable negative impact on our day to day lives and affected those around us.
Identify the toxic behavior you want to get rid of.
It’s easy to start this process with the best of intentions only to find yourself a month later in exactly the same place, frustrated and discouraged. So it’s important that you define your goal before you do anything else. Ask yourself: what bad habit or behavior do I want to get rid of?
If you don’t set a specific goal, how can you know when you’ve achieved it? Goals are also great for keeping you motivated. And once your friends see how well-defined your goals are—and that they’re working—you’ll be able to motivate them too!
Be ambitious but also realistic. If you’re new to fitness, don’t expect to run a marathon in 3 months. Instead, set attainable goals such as running 5 miles without stopping or benching 100 lbs. Once these goals have become habits (which they will!), then shoot higher!
Find the reason for your toxic behavior.
In the time period, we have allotted, we’re going to discover why you are feeling so sad or if it’s because of something else entirely. When you know the reason for your feelings, it will be easier to change.
First, let’s go through some common triggers. Do you feel sad when you are alone?
The next step is to provide a physical trigger: Physically triggering events can include things like a specific smell, sound, or place that reminds you of bad memories from childhood. Here are some ideas:
Next, let’s consider environmental triggers: Things in your environment that cause negative feelings could be things like a certain color or design; either way, changes in an environment usually stem from the things not being normal. Here are some ideas:
Lastly, if you are looking for social triggers: Psychologists have found that most emotions stem from our interactions with other people and circumstances around us—whether they’re positive or negative encounters. If someone yells at you on the street or even just fails to acknowledge your existence makes you feel bad then this needs to stop! The following suggestions should give you direction on how to tell if someone is causing heat in social situations:
Once we have gone through all of these different areas there should be little doubt as to why you feel so miserable and what needs to be done about it! Now comes the hardest step in the 30-day plan (but one that will help greatly): changing your behavior when triggered by specific people and places—this means making changes when necessary and taking other steps as advised.
Find the trigger for your toxic behavior.
Day 1: Find the trigger for your toxic behavior.
Let’s get real, friend. Knowing what triggers your toxic behavior is an important step to eliminating it.
For example, suppose an upcoming event triggers your desire to drink alcohol, even if you don’t want to. It might be a wedding or a family reunion, or even just a busy work week ahead. You know the event will require socializing and that alcohol gives you liquid courage—but when you drink too much, you can sometimes behave poorly and say hurtful things toward others or yourself. That’s obviously not helpful (or healthy). So what do you do?
Step 1: Confront the situation head-on by acknowledging that this social function will be challenging for you because of its association with drinking. Don’t ignore it! If possible, discuss it with someone who knows that you have social anxiety (or whatever issue causes the problem) and let them know how they can help you manage it in advance—like asking them to gently remind you if they see you having “too much fun” and suggesting alternate methods of coping with potential stressors. Simply discussing your concerns may bring relief in itself as well as reducing anxiety about the event itself!
Can you break a habit in 30 days?
Yes, you can break a habit in 30 days. It takes 21 days to break a habit according to some studies, but it takes 90 days for it to become automatic. That’s why most people fail in their goal. They go for the big goal and try the cold turkey method when they actually need to create a new habit that helps them reach their goal over time.
It’s called the 21/90 rule: habits take 21 days to form and 90 days to become automatic — if they stick. When we think of habits, we don’t realize how long it actually takes us to create one or change one because they are so ingrained in our minds and bodies.
This goes back to neuroscience – the brain is incredibly powerful, but also incredibly lazy at times because it likes staying within its comfort zone by forming neural pathways (habits). So when we try creating a new habit or breaking an old one, the brain resists change because even though forming neural pathways is hard work, consistent repetition eventually makes it easier for your brain over time until you no longer have to think about doing this action every day (good or bad).
How long on average does it take to break a bad or unhealthy habit?
One of the first things to consider when breaking a habit is how long it will take. On average, it has been estimated that habits can be broken in roughly 21 days. However, in reality this can vary depending on the person and their mentality.
For some people, habits may be broken much faster than the average amount of time. In fact, according to an article by The Guardian, “people who believed they could change a habit in 21 days were more likely to achieve their goals than those who self-doubters” (2017). This means that if you believe you can break your bad habit in a shorter period of time like two weeks or even one week, then you’re more likely to achieve this goal. Having a strong sense of willpower and hope for the future may allow you to have greater success at breaking your bad habit quickly. It’s also important for someone looking to break a bad habit to fully prepare themselves for what is about come their way during the process of breaking their habits. They need to make sure they are ready both mentally and physically for what will happen during this journey as well as after they have completed it successfully. As Dorothy Tannen suggests in her book Breaking Habits: One Man’s Journey from Monk To Mule Skinner To Motivational Speaker individuals need ways to cope with stress that surround changing a bad habit (2009). Stress is inevitable when going through these changes so finding healthy coping skills such as exercising or doing yoga are great methods for calming down stress levels while trying not just break a bad habit but maintain the new ones once they are implemented into daily life.
What’s the 21 90 rule?
The 21-90 rule states that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to make it a permanent lifestyle change. The first week is the hardest for anything, because you’re just starting out and still have all your old habits to break.
Once you’ve gone through three cycles of the 21-day habit, though, it’s much harder to go back. That doesn’t mean you can’t—just that you’ll be starting from square one again if you do. It’s not easy to get rid of a bad habit entirely, but this rule is pretty accurate when it comes to forming new ones.
At this point, you may be wondering why anyone would ever attempt this challenge at all if they knew there was only a 26% chance of success. What does success in this case even look like?
How can I leave bad habits in a month?
Now that you know what the 21-90 rule is, how can you use it to stop bad habits and start good ones?
First things first: If you have a habit that needs breaking, choose one singular behavior to work on. Trying to change too much at once is overwhelming, so pick a manageable goal and stick with it for 90 days. The next step is completing the first 21 days of your new behavior as perfectly as possible. (A note: Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or two—lapses are normal.) Once those first 21 days are over, congratulate yourself! You’re more than halfway through the tough part. But don’t get complacent. The next 90 days will be difficult in their own way—though not nearly as hard as those first three weeks—because now you’ll be starting the process of turning your new behavior into an automatic action. This takes time, practice and determination; but at long last, after roughly three months have passed, your brain should have rewired itself enough that this new behavior comes naturally to you.
Find the trigger for your toxic behavior.
Know your enemy.
Knowing what triggers your toxic behavior is an important step in eliminating it. Do you feel impatient and then lash out when you’re hungry? Does being stressed at work make you prone to procrastinating or binge-watching? Uncovering the cause of our self-destructive actions will help us better address them.
Once you’ve identified the trigger, plan how to counteract it. If feeling frustrated makes you want a cocktail, write down all the reasons why drinking isn’t the best solution for stress relief. Or maybe your trigger is a certain person or place–in which case, try removing that person or place from your life for 30 days (or longer!). This may sound harsh but remember: In order to fix a problem, we first need to acknowledge that there’s a problem to be fixed. If we continue to expose ourselves to unhealthy mindsets through our environments and associations, we’ll remain stuck in this cycle and never move forward.
Pat yourself on the back for every small win in your journey to get rid of that toxic behavior.
In the coming weeks, you’ll start to notice some changes in your behavior and thought patterns. You’ll be tempted to brush off this progress as “not a big deal” or to keep focusing on how far you have left to go.
Don’t do this! Every time you catch yourself thinking one of these thoughts, stop yourself and replace it with a positive affirmation: “Yay me!” “I am making such great progress!” “I did it.” Try saying these things out loud if it helps. This kind of reinforcement is crucial because it not only builds up your self-esteem but also reinforces a new way of thinking and approaching challenges.
Then, take a moment to pat yourself on the back—and if you’re feeling really proud of yourself, share that pride with people who matter most by telling them about what you’ve done and why they should be proud of your efforts, too. It’s also helpful to identify specific rewards that will help motivate you while pursuing your healthy goals: food treats like ice cream; good-for-you rewards like a manicure or massage; or even just some quiet downtime for bingeing on your favorite TV series can all help keep you moving forward toward change.
Replace the toxic behavior with something positive and fun.
As your 30 days progress and you successfully move beyond your bad habit, it’s important to keep yourself occupied with an alternative activity. The key to success is replacing the toxic behavior with something positive and fun.
Some ideas might include:
- Exercise. Physical activity can raise your endorphin levels and make you feel more alive. It can also distract you from doing something that’s not good for either your body or mind.
- Play a game. Pick up a hobby that helps pull your attention away from the bad habit, like a video game or playing an instrument (we’ve heard those are fun). Alternatively, if you’re looking for some friendly competition, grab some friends and play board games!
- Help out someone else in need. If there’s someone in your life who could use a hand—whether it’s making them dinner or helping them out with homework—going out of your way to be there for others will help take the focus off of yourself (and also help them). Plus, volunteering often reaps great rewards—including personal satisfaction!
Keep a journal.
- Don’t be afraid to get personal.
- Use your journal as a place for reflection and self-improvement.
- Don’t let the habit die after 30 days.
Toxic behaviors can be eliminated through practice, understanding and self-awareness.
In order to change a toxic behavior, you must first understand how it became a habit. A habit is created when you repeat an action or series of actions over and over until it becomes automatic. This is why habits are so difficult to break — they are often unconscious behaviors that require effort to become aware of.
In other words, the first step in changing any behavior is becoming aware that it exists in the first place. If you want to change your behavior, then you must learn how you engage with the world around you and recognize where toxic habits have formed.
To remove a bad habit, we need to replace it with something better — this is why identifying your motivations behind toxic behavior can be so helpful. Once we understand the motivation behind our actions, we can begin replacing old actions with new ones that better fit our values and motivations.
How do I stop toxic behavior
If you want to get rid of a toxic habit, the first step is to identify what the habit is. For instance, if your friend always makes plans and never follows through on them, you should ask yourself why this behavior is harmful. Is it because you feel like you can’t trust your friend? Do they make you feel less important than other people in their life?
Once you know what your toxic habit or action is, it’s important to look at why it happens. Once you know this reason, it will be easier to stop doing it or replace it with a positive behavior. For example: If your friend doesn’t show up to plans because she feels like she has too many things going on in her life, and not enough time for anything else including friends and family, then by making plans with her less often and letting her have space when she needs it would help her learn that people still love her even when she’s unavailable sometimes.
How to get rid of bad habits
Bad habits can form in any part of our lives—including our financial ones. However, it’s not always easy to change them. Here are some steps you can follow to help you on your way:
- Identify the behavior you wish to change
- Understand how this habit developed and why it’s difficult to change
- Develop a plan for changing the habit
- Get support from those around you
- Make the decision to change your life today
How to get rid of toxic attitude
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to eliminate toxic people from your life. But you can change how you react to them. Here’s how:
- Avoid people who make you feel bad about yourself. Pay attention to who leaves you feeling drained and negative, and try to limit time spent with those people.
- Try to see their point of view. Often toxic behavior comes from a place of unhappiness or insecurity that has nothing to do with you. Resist the urge to get defensive or attack back.
- Don’t be afraid to walk away. If someone makes a rude comment or tries to put you down, don’t get drawn into an argument that will leave everyone upset and angry. Just walk away!
- Don’t try too hard to change them (or yourself). You can’t force another person into behaving better; they have to want it for themselves (and even then, it might not work out). Your energy is best spent on improving your own self-image instead of fixing other people’s flaws!
The most important thing to realize is that toxic behavior is a habit. It can be learned or rooted in childhood experiences but, like any habit, it can be eliminated through practice, understanding and self-awareness.
You probably don’t even realize when you’re being toxic.
Toxic behaviors can be eliminated through practice, understanding and self-awareness.
- Toxic behaviors can be eliminated through practice, understanding and self-awareness.
For many of us, a toxic behavior is a habit. And as we know, habits can be broken. Here’s how:
- Step 1: Become aware of the behavior. By now you’ve probably identified your own bad habits by what they are—how they make you feel, how they affect the people around you and so on. The first step to acknowledging and changing a bad behavior is simply to recognize it exists. This means not avoiding it or turning a blind eye when it occurs, but instead becoming intimately familiar with the way that it appears in your life—when it happens, where and why.
- Step 2: Understand why you do it. Once you’ve become aware of your toxic habit(s), start to pay attention to the emotions behind them—what triggers them? Are there certain times of day or circumstances in which they are more likely to occur? Can you trace these habits back to anything from childhood or earlier in your life? What need does this habit fulfill for you at the time? Understanding the root cause of these behaviors helps us identify our emotional triggers and work on letting go of them for good!
In conclusion getting rid of a toxic habit in 30 days
Above all, remember that breaking a bad habit is different than eliminating it. The reason you haven’t been able to shake a bad habit is because you’re trying to stop yourself from initiating the action. Instead, you need to concentrate on not allowing yourself to finish the bad habit once you begin doing it. While it may seem like insanity at first, once you build up enough awareness, this method should help with your goal of breaking a bad habit.
So if you’re suffering from a bad habit that you’d like to break, take the first step today. Learn how to kick the habit and start living a healthier life. If you follow the advice in this article, you’ll be well on your way before the month is up!
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