Bad habits do much more damage than most people realize. Yet most of us tend to have a feeling of helplessness when it comes to trying to reverse or bring about much needed change into our lives. The truth is that it is possible to break any habit. A step by step how to quit a bad habit program can help a great deal. And then you will need to take one day at a time in your noble struggle for freedom.
Do not try and break more than one bad habit at a time. It is best to attempt to change one habit at a time.
Step 1: Get out of denial
How can you possibly focus on any solution when you are still in denial? This is one of the reasons why alcoholics must start by first accepting what they are and the terrible habit that they have sunk into.
Step 2: Motivate yourself
Think of the consequences of your bad habit. The harm it causes in your life and even to your future and possibly the future of your children whom you love so much. You can then list the enormous gains you will end up with after halting the bad habit in question. What are the benefits that you would enjoy? For instance if you are an alcoholic imagine yourself never having to go through the terrible feelings of guilt that you get afterwards. When you find ways to really motivate yourself to kick old habits, it gives you a great head start.
Step 3: Plan
Once you fully motivated to break the bad habit and change your life for the better, the next thing you will have to do is plan exactly how you are going to go about it. While it is important to be positive and optimistic at all times, it is also critical that you appreciate what you are up against. Remember that the habit you are trying to kick has probably developed in you over many years. The most effective way of getting rid of it is to replace it with a brand new activity and then try and transform that activity into a habit. Alternatively you can change the environment that feeds your bad habit. For instance a heavy smoker may find that they do most of their smoke when having a drink with friends who smoke. Take your drink somewhere else in a no smoking zone. Determine to do whatever it takes to free yourself from the undesirable habit. Take your time to plan carefully and if possible write down your plan step by step. As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Step 4: Take action
There are two different approaches that you can take to break a habit. You can either do it right away or you can do it gradually. Those who usually choose the cold turkey abrupt approach to ending their bad habit will need to have a lot of will power and resolve to see it through because you are bound to run into all kinds of set backs and “withdrawal symptoms” that could easily cause you to land back in your old bad ways. Naturally the easier approach is to do it gradually which will take a much longer time. Whatever way you choose be sure to do your research and also think through the whole thing so that you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. It is also useful if you learn how to relax when temptations flood in. For example you will need to discover the right countering techniques to help you fight off all the temptations that are bound to come your way that could cause you to slide back to your old ways. Press through the initial pain and discomfort that will inevitably come.
Step 5: Maintaining your lifestyle change
The truth is that most people get through the first two stages fairly well but run into trouble during this fourth step. Sometimes they will simply get bored or be overwhelmed by temptations and find themselves back in the old habit they wanted so badly to get rid of. On other occasions it is the arrogance and overconfidence that creeps in to to deceive you that you are still in control even if you go back for one more drink, one more cigarette or one more of whatever it is that you want out of your life. Just stay focused and stick to your plan no matter what.
Step 6: Ask for help
Chances are that at this stage you may start feeling overwhelmed by temptations. Rather than waiting to succumb you can take further action. You need to ask for help from people who are bound to be empathic. This will be folks who have gone through the same thing or something very similar. In this age of the World Wide Web it is much easier to find people out there who have been through situations that are pretty similar to yours.
Step 7: Change your strategy
If you reach that point where your initial plan is not working out for you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with changing to something more effective. Change your strategy as many times as you need to until you find something that works. The mistake many people make is to give up too quickly and assume that because their initial plan failed then nothing will work. Just remember that breaking a habit is like a baby learning how to walk. No matter how many times you fall and get bruised, never give up. Just keep going.
Is Termination really possible?
Is it possible to completely free one self from an old habit so that you are no longer in danger of relapsing? Alcoholics Anonymous folks do not believe that it is possible and that is why they teach their members to brace for a lifetime of maintenance an to always be on their guard. However there are those who have a different opinion and believe that it is possible to be completely free. Especially if you find a new good habit to replace the old bad one.
Following this simple step by step how to quit a bad habit steps will increase your chances of success.