Being stuck in a cycle of bad behaviour and feeling guilty about bad behaviour – compulsive Facebook use, drunk texting your ex, diet-pop drinking – can make you feel like you're constantly living in and out of a rut. Break out of that cycle and get on with your life! Make this summer the summer you get bad habit free.
Here are four pointers for breaking habits without any more hassle than necessary:
Understand your triggers
Identify certain times, people, and feelings that make you feel compelled to engage in your habit. Be really kind to yourself in the process of kicking a habit and minimize your exposure to them. Change is hard enough without having to deal with triggers all the time. Habit-proof your life by making your surroundings conducive to a new lifestyle. Donate your coffee maker to Value Village. Change your route home. Don't stock your fridge with beer.
Don't just subtract, add too
Quitting a habit isn't a matter of merely subtracting something from your life. Think of quitting it as a way to open up a big space in your life for somethig new. What do you want to fill that space with? You can choose anything you want, but choose it mindfully. You don't need to devote time or energy to anything that doesn't ultimately serve you. Take this opportunity to start something new and exciting that you can pour a lot of energy into.
All big changes happen in very small increments. Kicking a habit requires doable, distinct goals – not huge, scary ones. Don't feel like you need to set huge goals for yourself if you know you won't keep them. There's no right way to kick a habit – it's all about doing what works best for you. Think of a way that you can make your life work without your habit, as your life is right now, and start putting your plan into action. Chart your progress, and think of a way to reward yourself with each step.
Don't do it alone
Knowing you're being held accountable will help a lot. You'll be much less likely to engage in your habit if you have to answer to someone about it. Choose a really supportive friend, (someone who you can be honest with and you know won't judge you), to check up on you by sharing your goals with them and letting them know what you need. They can also act as some emotional support. Ideally, you and a pal can kick a bad habit together. Then it'll be a give ad take dynamic, and you'll feel a lot more sane in the process.