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Five Ways to Break Bad Habits


Anyone who’s tried to break a bad habit will tell you, it isn’t easy. Any type of habit literally becomes hard wired into our brains. The good news? The same brain functions that create bad habits, can help us to establish good ones. Dr. Randy Brazie, chief medical officer at Terros Health, offers these five ways to help break bad habits and establish good ones. 


Practice. Florida State University psychologist Roy Baumeister, who has studied decision-making and will power, says regularly practicing self-control can strengthen your resolve and help you develop newer, better habits. Tip: Tell yourself you’ll only eat three cookies, rather than the whole bag. If you follow through, reward yourself with a trip to the movies or a new pair of shoes. 


Awareness. Sometimes the hardest part of reversing a bad habit is acknowledging you have it. But once you do, you can begin to change. Tip: Spend a few minutes quietly trying to identify any unhealthy habits you might have, without judging or shaming yourself. You can also ask someone you trust. 


Visualization. Sometimes using your mind to see yourself practicing good habits can help reverse the bad ones. Tip: Sit in a quiet place, undisturbed, and breathe slowly and deeply. While doing this, begin to imagine the outcome you want, and go over the details, including any senses, spending five to 10 minutes focusing on your picture. 


Replacement. Some people have found that they can replace a bad habit with a healthy one. Tip: Regular exercise can help you to feel better. Start with three days a week, then, after a couple of months, increase to four days. Gradually work your way up to 6 dayswhether it be the gym, going for a swim, hiking or just a good, brisk walk. 


Triggers and Tribe. For some, bigger life changes may be necessary to reverse bad habits. Removing triggers that cause you to choose bad habits over good is a good place to start. Maybe you take a different route home so you don’t pass by the local tavern. Or choose the fresh seafood restaurant over the burger joint. 

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