Breaking Bad Habits: Tips for Changing Your Behaviour

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We all have habits, good and bad. They help us navigate our daily routine, from brushing our teeth to the way we drive home from work. Habits can be powerful tools to help us make positive changes or they can be detrimental to our well-being. Here are some tips for changing your behaviour.

Identify the Habit

The first step in breaking a bad habit is to identify it. Be honest with yourself about what the habit is and why you want to change it. Understanding the trigger for the habit can be helpful in breaking it. For example, if you smoke when you are stressed, finding alternative stress-reducing techniques such as meditation or exercise can help in breaking the habit.

Set Realistic Goals

Make sure your goals are realistic and achievable. Trying to make too many changes suddenly can be overwhelming and lead to failure. Start with one habit at a time and give yourself time to adjust. It takes time and effort to break a habit, so be patient.

Replace the Habit with a Positive Behaviour

Replacing a bad habit with positive behaviour can be a productive way to break it. For example, if you have a habit of snacking on junk food, replacing it with healthy snacks like fruits or nuts can help in breaking the habit. Find ways to make the behaviour you want to adopt, more appealing. Surround yourself with healthy food or do activities that don’t have to do with grabbing unhealthy snacks.


Having someone to hold you accountable can be an effective way to break a bad habit. Share your goal with a friend or family member and ask them to check in with you regularly. This can help in staying motivated and making progress towards your goal. You can also use technology to help you stay accountable. Use apps or websites that track your progress and give reminders.

Rewards and Consequences

Rewards and consequences can be helpful in breaking a habit. Setting up a reward system for achieving a goal can be a motivator. For example, if you want to quit smoking, you could put the money you save from not buying cigarettes towards a weekend getaway. On the other hand, consequences can be effective in deterring bad behaviour. For example, you could put money into a jar every time you indulge in a bad habit, and once the jar is full, donate the money to a charity.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be helpful in breaking a bad habit. Being present in the moment can help in recognizing when you are engaging in a bad habit and prevent it from happening. Mindfulness can help in reducing stress and anxiety, which can be triggers for bad habits. Practising mindfulness meditation can help in developing self-awareness and making positive changes in your behaviour.

Find Support

Finding support can be helpful in breaking a bad habit. Joining a support group or finding an accountability partner can provide motivation and guidance. Being surrounded by people who are also working to break bad habits can be helpful in staying focused on achieving your goal.

Stay Positive

Staying positive is important when trying to break a habit. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up. It takes time to change behaviour, and setbacks are common. Celebrate small victories and learn from mistakes. Focus on progress, not perfection.

Breaking bad habits can be challenging, but it is possible. Identifying the habit, setting realistic goals, replacing it with positive behaviour, accountability, rewards and consequences, mindfulness, finding support, and staying positive are all effective tools in breaking bad habits. With time, effort, and support, you can make positive changes in your behaviour and live a healthier, happier life.

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