Humans are creatures of routine, which is why it can be so difficult to change up your habits, whether good or bad.

Of course, that doesn't mean that you should be content with the status-quo. Bad habits interrupt your life, prevents you from accomplishing your goals, and negatively affect your physical and/or mental health!

If you're determined to break some of your bad habits, but are having a hard time, fret not! You're not alone in your struggles. In fact, we have some helpful tips that will actually help you break your bad habits for good!

6 interesting tips to help you break your bad habits

Habits to be made LED signage

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

1. Identify your "why"s

The first step to breaking your bad habits isn't to dive right into things. In fact, you should take a step back! Ask yourself: why do you want to break your bad habits?

You probably already have a reason, but it's important to really put it into words! Write it down in a notebook, set it as your wallpaper, put it at the foot of your bed. This will serve as a constant reminder to you, and will help you stay focused through difficult times.

1. Understand the root problem

When you understand the root problem behind your bad habits, it becomes much easier to nip it at the bud.

Stress and boredom are usually the reasons why people turn to their bad habits! For example, some people tend to start snacking when they're bored and have nothing to do. Others may snack more or even excessively when they're stressed.

Take a step back and try to pay more attention to your body! A useful way to identifying what causes your bad habits is by tracking your habits and your moods in a journal. When you catch yourself engaging in your bad habits, try to write down what you were feeling that day.

Journey, a digital diary app, has features that can help you with this. In Journey, you can indicate how you felt in the day using 1 of 5 emojis.

Add your mood and custom tags to your journal entries on Journey
Add your mood and custom tags to your journal entries on Journey

You can also create and add custom tags to your journal entries! In order to track your bad habits, you can create tags to indicate when you did or did not engage your bad habits.

Add custom tags to your journal entries on Journey
Add custom tags to your journal entries on Journey

When you look back on your past entries, it will become much easier to observe any correlation between your bad moods and your bad habits!

2. Replace your bad habits

Too many people fall into the trap of just going cold turkey to break their bad habits. For example, they may try to stop snacking completely, or cut out alcohol from their day. However, such drastic measures only make it even more likely that you'll relapse into your bad habits.

Instead, take things slow by replacing them with a healthier substitute! If you struggle with snacking, try to buy healthier snacks like nuts or berries. If you struggle with procrastination, give yourself frequent but short breaks to stay refreshed. If you scroll social media too much, try reading a book or writing in a journal instead.

These are just some ways you can replace your bad habits, and slowly transition into a healthier routine!

3. Grab a buddy

two women sitting on wooden dock over body of water

Photo by KaLisa Veer on Unsplash

Breaking bad habits can be a difficult process, so why not get support from someone you trust. And not just that – why not work alongside them?

Joining forces with a dear friend can make it much easier for both of you to break your bad habits. Not only can you keep each other accountable, having someone else work towards their goals beside you can be incredibly motivating! Plus, your friend will be able to understand your struggle and support you better when the going gets tough.

When you surround yourself with people that are supportive of you, the journey to breaking your bad habits will truly become less of a chore.

4. Use the word "but"

No matter how hard you try, there's always a possibility that you may run into some low points where you fall back into your bad habits. When that happens, it can be all too easy to start beating yourself up.

But negative self-talk will get you nowhere. In fact, it can further beat down your self-esteem, and you may even end up giving up faster because of it!

To stop your negative self-talk in its track, it may be helpful to always add the word "but" to these self-deprecating statements, and find ways to turn the statements around! Here are some examples:

  • "I didn't manage to stick to my goals, but at least I'm trying."
  • "I am so lazy and unmotivated, but I took the first step and that's what counts."
  • "I should just give up, but I should be proud of how far I've come."

It may seem simple and even shallow, but you should never underestimate the power of words and positive self-talk.

5. Record your successes

What better way to motivate yourself than by looking at all the times you've succeeded? Using a calendar, try to mark off every day you manage to stick your goals and avoid your bad habits.

For example, mark off every single day that you stayed away from drinking or smoking. Write down any important milestones, like "1 month without snacking" or "1 week of taking a walk everyday".

And if you're just starting out, you can also celebrate every single day that you managed to stick to your goals. That's right – every day! Even your baby steps deserve to be celebrated.

Writing down your successes will make them more "real" to you, and serves as a constant reminder of what you are capable of achieving!

On Journey, you can take a look at these milestones on the Calendar feature, so you can track your progress as you go about breaking your bad habits.

Track your journey and celebrate your successes using Journey's Calendar feature
Track your journey and celebrate your successes using Journey's Calendar feature

6. Be patient with yourself

As much as we want it, breaking bad habits simply doesn't happen over night. It is a journey – a long and arduous one that will require determination and self-discipline. You may find yourself falling back into your bad habits once in a while, and you may even want to give up.

But it's important to remember, above all, that you have to be patient with yourself!

Understand that is this is a difficult process, and take pride in the fact that you're trying at all! Remind yourself that not many others would even bother to break their bad habits. Reassure yourself that taking the first step already sets you apart from so many others.

Treat yourself with patience and kindness, and take things slow. You've got this!