Have you ever tried to leave a bad habit and ended up frustrating yourself? The problem is not that you are weak or that bad habit is very ingrained; Chances are you’ve given up too soon.
Researchers at University College London have found that it takes 66 days to create a habit. In the same way, as long as there are no physical addictions involved, it takes 66 days to get rid of a bad habit. But, before being able to develop the motivation to endure all that time, you need to understand how bad habits are created in the first place.
Harmful habits are formed and reinforced by the cycle of addiction. First, there is a trigger that triggers unwanted behavior. For example, you may be stressed and decide to spend an hour wandering around Facebook or eating an entire bag of Doritos. The trigger is what makes that idea install in your head. The second step is the implementation of the behavior itself. Your brain says, “Of course you do, you deserve a bag of Doritos,” and you end up succumbing.
The third step – this part is crucial – is the reward. The behavior has to give you a reward in some way. And this does not mean that it is beneficial to you or that it is intelligent behavior, it just means that it produces an effect that your brain likes.
Wandering through Facebook can help you forget problems for a while or postpone something you do not want to do, and we all know (too well) the reward we get when we eat junk food. For better or for worse, these bonuses increase the likelihood that we will repeat this behavior.
When a behavior is repeated a sufficient number of times, the cycle of the habit is so automated that one does not even think of it. Instead of making the conscious decision to procrastinate, you automatically open Facebook as soon as you turn on the computer or open a bag of Doritos before you realize that you are stressed.
When a habit becomes automatic, it is much harder to break; Probably that’s why you can not get rid of it: because you do not give yourself 66 days to unhook.
It may seem many days, but there are specific phases that you will have to go through that make the process look much shorter.
How to stop a bad habit permanently
Changing a habit depends on many factors. The individual’s behavior and what the habit is. How actively you want to get rid of a bad habit and your ability to control its effects. Stop thinking about stop bad habits, instead start avoiding. Let’s take a look how you can change a bad habit within 66 days:
Days 1-10: Introspection
It is usually quite obvious that bad habits are the cause of most problems; Those that come out in the evaluations of performance in work or those that provoke discussions with the pair. When you have identified a habit you want to change, the challenge is to know what the triggers are (it may be harder than it looks), especially if the habit is so ingrained that it is done unconsciously. If you think about it, you will get to the bottom of the question.
For example, you may get a lot of speeding tickets and realize that you drive too fast when you get off work in a bad mood, or you may crash between hours when you’re stressed. Doing a bit of introspection to discover the trigger of the habit you are trying to quit is what makes it possible for you to end it. The first 10 days are critical to identifying the source of the habit, so pay attention. Self-awareness is essential to emotional intelligence, and introspection serves many more things than to help you quit a bad habit.
Days 11-40: Communicating with Others
To leave a bad habit, responsibility is crucial. In this phase, you will create a network of trust by telling everyone that you are trying to get rid of a habit, and the more you talk about it, the more likely you’re that people will let you know if you let their guard down. Make it clear to others that you have something to say to them. You probably have to keep reminding yourself; For them, it is as easy to forget and fall as for you.
Days 41-60: Attention to the triggers that can cause you to fall
Be prepared to make mistakes when you are reaching the final stretch; It happens to everyone. Stay alerted to potential threats that may lead you to make those mistakes. If you tend to fall into a particular situation, the smart thing would be to try to avoid that detonator altogether until the bad habit has completely disappeared. Generally, the difference between success and failure lies in not letting the triggers catch you when it seems that you have already got rid of the habit.
Day 67: Reward
It is true that getting rid of a bad habit is already a reward in itself, but why don’t you take the opportunity to celebrate something? Celebrate, but do not fall into the habit you have tried so hard to leave. Take the opportunity to reflect and think about the next habit you would like to get rid of.
Having a hard time quitting doesn’t mean you’re weak, stupid, or lazy. Certain psychological factors make this process not easy for anyone, but the same science that explains why it is so difficult to get rid of a habit is that which provides us with a research-based method to get rid of it. Focus on leaving habits one by one and follow these steps, and your chances of success will give a considerable boost.
How long does it take to make or break a habit?
A study found that in some cases breaking a habit can take at least 21 days. But most of the bad habits takes longer than 60 days. Changing into a good habit taking longer than bad one. Let me give you an example. If you want to grow a healthy diet habit, it needs a three-week minimum, but if you want to start alcohol, you will be addict within a week.
What do you do to leave a bad habit? Share your opinion in the comments so we can all learn.