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Aug 21, 2023

Ditching Bad Habits: A Guide to Kicking Them to the Curb

Bad habits - we all have them, right? They're like heavy chains that hold us back from reaching our full potential, like those annoying tag-along friends who just won't leave you alone. Whether it's procrastination, binge-watching Netflix until 3 AM, overindulgence in unhealthy foods, smoking, or any other habit you want to change, the journey to improvement begins with understanding and a well-thought-out plan. In this article, we'll explore effective strategies to break free from those unwanted behaviors and build a better you with a sprinkle of research-backed wisdom.

Know Thyself

First things first, you need to know what you're up against. What's your bad habit? Is it scrolling through social media for hours? Snacking on cookies like they're going extinct? Start by acknowledging your habit and understanding what sets it off. You can try keeping a journal to track when and why you engage in the habit. This will help you identify patterns and gain insights into your behavior. Research has repeatedly shown that self-awareness is a crucial first step to change.

Get SMART About Goals

Research has found that setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals increases your chances of success. Once you've identified the habit you want to change, set clear and achievable goals. Don't just say, "I'll stop snacking." Instead, set a SMART goal like, "I'll replace one unhealthy snack with a piece of fruit every day for the next two weeks."

Baby Steps (Break it Down)

Don't go full Rambo on your bad habit; break it down into bite-sized chunks. Research shows that gradual change is more sustainable. Breaking a bad habit into smaller, manageable steps can make the process less overwhelming. Focus on one aspect at a time. For instance, if you're aiming to exercise more, start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase the duration when you feel comfortable. 10 minutes is still exercise.

Swap, Don't Drop

It's often more effective to replace a bad habit with a healthier one rather than simply trying to eliminate it. Research suggests that it's often more effective to replace it with a healthier alternative. For example if binge-watching TV is the habit you want to change, try swapping one episode with a chapter of a good book or a short workout.

Ask for Support

Don't be afraid to seek support from friends, family, or a support group. Sharing your goals with others can provide accountability and encouragement. Studies indicate that social support greatly enhances your chances of success. Lagos has some fantastic local support networks - tap into them!

Improving bad habits is a challenging but rewarding endeavor. By using the effective strategies in this article, you can break free from those habits that no longer serve you little by little. Breaking bad habits isn't a sprint; it's a marathon. Be patient and celebrate every small win. Remember, change is possible, and every step in the right direction brings you closer to a healthier, happier you. So, start today and begin the journey toward a better future.