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The Secret of Bad Habit Elimination

It's tough to change a habit that has been rooted in your daily life. Your mind remembers stable patterns and pushes you to react to triggers with corresponding routines...

It's tough to change a habit that has been rooted in your daily life. Your mind remembers stable patterns and pushes you to react to triggers with corresponding routines. You barely notice these patterns when everything's going well, and it's easy to use willpower to ignore random temptations when your good habits are deeply ingrained.

So, what can you do to get rid of unhealthy patterns of behavior? First, recognize when you perform the bad habit and why. You can do this by figuring out the key elements of your habit:

  • Cue (trigger) — I get bored at work.
  • Routine (your reaction to the cue) — I get up and go outside for a cigarette.
  • Reward (pleasant feedback that you receive) — Smoke breaks help me recharge my mind.
When you understand the cue and recognize the reward that motivates you to perform your harmful habit, you can work on removing the cues and triggers from your daily life. But this is not always easy. One practical way to make it easier and improve your lifestyle is to replace your unwanted routines with positive ones:

  • Cue — I get bored at work.
  • Routine — I go to the office kitchen and drink a glass of water with lemon.
  • Reward — The small break helps me recharge my mind.
You don't need to torture yourself and test your willpower, suddenly trying to stop what you are used to. Do something useful for yourself instead. Focus on adding in the preferred habit rather than avoiding the undesirable one and you are more likely to succeed.


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