Breaking Bad Habits

New Year resolutions are usually about changing for the better. Some resolve to start something new, while others resolve to break a bad habit or two. It's a challenge to break bad habits but it's definitely not impossible to do. We've run down some of the most common hurdles to breaking bad habits and come up with tips on how to beat them.

We always give excuses.
I'm stressed. I deserve this. It's just this one time. These are just a few of the ‘outs' you give yourself to put off the change you want to make. Rationalizing our actions might hinder us from taking responsibility over our bad habits and stop us from facing reality.

How to break it: Recognize what you are doing and be honest with yourself about it. Stop rationalizing why you do it. You like smoking? Instead of thinking about how good it makes you feel, shift your mind to the harmful things it can do to your body.

We give in too quickly.
Even with the best intentions, we sometimes give in to our bad habits. There are times when the urge just gets stronger and stronger and we decide to just give in.

How to break it: Apply the 20-Second rule. When you feel like lighting a stick, count slowly to 20. That way, it will give you more time to re-think your decision. It also helps to get yourself out of situations that can make you commit your bad habit again.

We prefer shortcuts.
The truth is you can't break bad habits overnight. We want to break a habit so quickly, we sometimes aim to stop it by making big and drastic changes. But Lao Tzu (not Confucius) got it right when he said,"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Breaking down an established bad habit will take time.

How to break it: Instead of introducing major changes, it is advisable to start with little adjustments. For example, instead of using three sugar packs in your morning coffee, why not reduce it by one? Or how about replacing soda with fruit juices. Small adjustments like these don't take too much effort but will make a big difference in the future.

The truth is habit-breaking is not something you can do overnight. It takes time and effort to achieve this. But the most important part of breaking bad habits is having the commitment to be a better version of you.

Just think about how life will be without your bad habit – it's sure to become a whole better.