How to Break Unhealthy Habits

Bad habits are hard to break, but it can be done. If you’ve found yourself with some unhealthy habits – be it a poor diet, smoking, or anything else – this is what you can do to break them. It’s not easy, but it’s certainly not impossible.

How to Break Unhealthy Habits

There are many things that we do on a daily basis that have the ability to land us in the urgent care center. Whether it’s a coffee addiction or an odd gait, some things we do put us in danger. Whether we know it or not, these risks build up over time. When we do know, it can make it much harder in fact. Doing something wrong often feels good, and we turn to bad habits in our weakest moments.  Where there’s a will, there is a way, but our will isn’t always the strongest. Even the toughest people in the world have their weak moments, which is where bad habits love to reside.

If you’re looking to break a bad habit, regardless of the decision was a New Year’s Resolution or made on a whim, there are a few things you can do to move the process along. It’s not easy. It will never be easy. However, it can be done. These are the three major steps to get these unhealthy habits broken.

Step 1.) Understand the Habit, and How it Creeps Up On You

The first step to breaking a habit is to take no action at all. When you’ve made the decision to break an unhealthy habit, it might be best to sit on the idea for a while. Open a note on your phone, and for the next week, the next month, or the next year, write down every thought that you have about the habit. When do you want a cigarette? Why do you want to quit? Write that all down. It’ll be important later.

Once you’ve fully realized why you want to quit, you should also understand how the habit was formed and manifests. If you constantly overeat, for example, you might note that it happens more when you’re stressed out. This information is key to breaking the habit. See, we pick up these habits as a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Smoking helps with anxiety, and it’s easier to buy a pack of cigarettes than to get therapy. So, when we look to break a habit, starting with the underlying problem can help immensely. If you do bad things when you’re stressed, you will have to learn how to deal with the stress. Anything else will simply be exchanging one bad habit for another.

Step 2.) Make a Plan to Break the Habit

Once you understand your unhealthy habit, you can make an actionable plan to break it. If you’re trying to stop yourself from drinking caffeine, then you have a simple starting point: “drink less caffeine.” Your plan must account for two things, though.

The first is that many unhealthy habits also form a chemical dependency that makes quitting much, much harder. Going through withdrawal symptoms can break your will easily, and suddenly you’re right back in the thick of it. You should plan for this, likely by not going “cold turkey.” Instead, you can make breaking the habit a habit. Try drinking one less cup of coffee a day each week, or one less cigarette each day. You can easily cut your habits down in just a few days this way, and you’ll be better off for it.

The second thing you have to plan for is weak moments. If you know that certain scenarios trigger your unhealthy habits, then you must plan for those moments. If they are avoidable, avoid them. However, there aren’t many things you can avoid altogether. Instead, have a “then” for every “if.” “If” I get the urge to overeat because of a long day, then I will go for a walk instead. Breaking an unhealthy habit is a great opportunity to pick up a healthy one.

Step 3.) Remember It’s a Marathon

Finally, you’ll need to remember that breaking an unhealthy habit is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Quitting doesn’t happen in seconds or even days. It can take more than 3 weeks for your body to adjust to new habits, and that’s assuming everything goes perfectly. Keep reminders around why you quit, because cravings can strike at any time for very long periods. Every habit can be broken if you have the will, and everyone has the will if they search for it. Good luck!

Rapid Med Team
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