Now, you are probably thinking that bad habits entail smoking, eating too much or maybe gambling. But the thing is, bad habits go far beyond the stereotypical ones we all tend to focus on.

So many of us are guilty of bad habits. Maybe it’s overindulging in a little too much retail therapy (even when you already own 7 different pairs of boots in the same colour), maybe you are a procrastinator at work or maybe you spend the majority of your spare time on social media. No matter what your unhealthy habit is, we all have them.

Bad habits follow us around in our day-to-day life and they can take a toll on our physical and mental wellbeing. Without knowing it, your bad habit could be weighing you down in more ways than you realise. Draining your bank account, consuming your spare time or just making you unhappy.

However, it is possible to effectively bring an end to our bad habits. The trick is to replace them with good habits.

You don’t just erase a bad habit, you replace it with something better

According to an article written by James Clear (the man knows what he is talking about), the idea is to take something bad from your life and cultivate new practices that provide a similar benefit.

Let’s dig a little deeper into this way of thinking…

The thinking behind bad habits

Bad habits are pinpointed to two leading causes: stress and boredom. From smoking to splurging at the mall, bad habits stem from us trying to deal with our stress or boredom.

But, the trick is to teach yourself how to deal with these two factors in new and healthy ways.

For example, if smoking is your bad habit, then instead of trying to stop smoking cold turkey, you need to try and think of a healthy and productive replacement for smoking. This might be working out, practising deep breathing techniques, or really anything that works for you and stops you from picking up a cigarette.

Here’s how to effectively break your bad habits and replace them with healthy ones


1. Learn how to cope with stress better

According to an article in Time, the first step to breaking a bad habit is to sink your stress levels.

A number of bad habits, from smoking to sugar consumption, involve your brain’s reward system. Having a smoke or a slab of chocolate is recognised as a reward by our brains. This is a reason why we start to form these bad habits in the first place. Simply put – they feel good.

It’s easier to say no to a bad habit when we are in a happier state of mind. Our willpower is stronger when our mental and physical wellbeing is too. This means that the first step to breaking bad habits is to improve your overall wellbeing.

Some tactics include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Exercising regularly
  • Taking part in stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga

If you are lacking motivation or don’t know where to start, then we can help with personally designed wellness programs that really work.


2. Find your triggers and eliminate them

If eating a slab of chocolate every night is your guilty pleasure, then get rid of all the candy in your house. If smoking if your bad habit, then chuck out ashtrays and lighters that remind you of smoking.

Get rid of any triggers in your environment (like right now).


3. Find healthy substitutes for your bad habits

This involves thinking ahead of time as to what you will replace the bad habit with. You need to come up with a game plan and figure out how you will respond to moments of stress and boredom.

If you feel like you are procrastinating at work, then take up an online course or read an interesting article online instead of scrolling the Gram. If you feel the urge to have a sweet snack as a result of stress, why not go for a short walk instead or eat something healthier yet still delicious?

Practise deep breathing or healthy distractions when you feel like you might slip into a habit as a result of stress or boredom.


4. Visualise success and think positively

It comes down to the power of positive thinking.

Start by writing down a list of goals for yourself or a mantra.

It can be as simple as something along the lines of…

I am fit, filled with boundless energy and overcome my bad habits with ease and strength.


My mind is at peace in knowing I have the strength to overcome my bad habits.

Visualise yourself as a healthier and happier person for it and watch as your life starts to change around your positive way of thinking.

Wake up in the morning and visualise yourself crushing your bad habit, smiling as you do it and succeeding in your ability to do so.

Think positively

Did you know that negativity is also a form of a bad habit? Every time a negative thought comes into your mind, recognise it and then eliminate it with a positive one.

For example, if you start to think that you cannot overcome the need for a cigarette and you might as well just have one, then replace this thought with “I am strong and confident in my ability to overcome my bad habits” and take 5 deep breaths.

It’s really that simple.


5. Know that it’s okay to slip up

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that if you are trying to give up a bad habit, then you might hit a bump in the road from time to time. You need to plan for failure.

But, instead of beating yourself up, recognise your mistake and tell yourself you will do better next time and actually do it.


Where to from here?

We hope this list of tactics will help in putting you on the path to success in breaking a bad habit.

Remember to eliminate your cues, replace your bad habit with a good one, visualise success and think positively and know that it’s okay to fail.

What bad habit are you wanting to kick?