A habit is defined by Merriam-Webster as an “acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.” We develop a habit over time, and this habit becomes part of our routine, how we operate on a daily basis. But our habits don’t have to define us. They don’t have to control us. We have the ability to conquer the harmful habits that are weighing us down. We can replace them with healthy, helpful habits.
- Be clear about the habit you want to eliminate.
- Identify triggers. What do you associate with the habit? It could be a smell, something you see, or something else, like stress. Learning to manage the triggers can help you to manage the habit.
- Prepare a plan for failure. What will you do if you fail? Everyone fails at some point. Having a plan will help you get back to working on it, rather than giving up. For example, if you are trying to establish the habit of going to the gym but something prevents it, you could do 30 pushups at home or in your office.
- Substitute another behavior for a harmful one.
- Change your mental scripting. Mental scripting is the self-talk you engage in, like “one cookie won’t hurt.” You could change your internal script to something else, such as “that cookie isn’t for you,” or “a trim, healthy person doesn’t eat cookies.”
I hope these tips have given you something to think about as you move forward. There are resources available if you really want to dig into habits, such as “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg or “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.