Our personal and professional lives depend heavily on our habits. A solid set of habits can help us stand out from the crowd and advance in our jobs, health, and interpersonal relationships.
A terrible habit might wreck our lives totally
The basis for a good life is having excellent habits. The importance of habits in our daily lives has long amazed me.
Even while we are aware that repeating a particular activity is unhealthy for us and does not advance our long- or short-term goals, we nonetheless feel compelled to do it by our own monkey minds, which makes the topic of habits even more fascinating.
Regardless of how advantageous or rewarding some behaviors are to our personal development, it appears that our minds somehow manage to convince us to put off or avoid engaging in them.
Everyone struggles with poor habits; no one is exempt. Poor habits keep us from realizing our full potential and accomplishing our goals.
“Everyone is the same; only the habits vary.” A. Confucius
So in this piece, I’ll go through a step-by-step process James Clear first suggested to help you break negative habits and replace them with positive ones.
Let’s be clear: changing poor habits requires effort, discipline, patience, and the appropriate approach to replace them with good ones. Breaking bad habits is not easy. Therefore, don’t expect results right away; it will take time to rewire your brain’s reward system, but the effort will be worthwhile.
While we cannot entirely break a poor habit, we may switch it out for a better one that will benefit us in a more positive way.
We need to grasp the four laws of habit forming in order to prevent falling prey to our negative habits. Inverting these principles will help us break a habit.
First Law Inversion: Make It Invisible (Cue).
Every habit, whether good or bad, begins with a signal; cues cause us to begin a particular activity. We are more likely to see Cues that stand out. Making the triggers that trigger unhealthy habits “INVISIBLE” is necessary if we want to end them.
Currently, changing your environment is the most effective technique to get rid of hints. Determine the triggers that lead you to repeat undesirable habits. Reduce your exposure and end as many environmental cues as you can from your undesirable habits.
Your cues can also be physical clues; we often replicate undesirable conduct in our homes, workplaces, or other settings. We link our habits to the places where they take place. Our interactions with the things around us determine our behavior, not the things themselves.
Stop seeing your surroundings as a bunch of inanimate things and start seeing them as a group of people you know.
I have a bond with my bed, so as soon as I get into bed, I almost instinctively reach for a book that is sitting next to it. For someone else, however, it can be different, and they might feel the need to immediately start browsing through social media. Distinct people have different connections to the items in their surroundings.
It’s very important to pay attention to these connections. They can help you get rid of the things that make you do bad things and replace them with things that make you do good things.
It may be simpler to break habits in a fresh setting.
Actionable Insight: Establish a new routine in an area of your environment that you don’t frequently use. You are free to investigate more locations in and around your neighborhood to replace harmful habits with positive ones.
Make It Unattractive to Invert the Second Law (Craving).
The need to alter your interior condition is what craving is. There are surface-level and deeper cravings for every habit. Different people find different ways to sate their inherent desires. One person may smoke a cigarette while the other may run or do weights when they are feeling nervous.
Because of our innate want to connect with others, going through Instagram is so gratifying. We repeat negative habits on a regular basis by a strong, underlying yearning.
Sometimes all we need is a mental change. Hard behaviors can be made more appealing by being linked to happy experiences, and bad habits can be broken by being linked to unpleasant ones.
I’ve created the bad habit of not being active and the good habit of working out at least 4-5 times per week during the past year. I connected exercise with positive emotions. I tell myself that being a couch potato and eating junk food makes me feel ashamed and bad, so it’s better to work out and eat healthy foods.
As time went on, this constant mental reorganizing made me want to repeat good behaviors more, while it made me want to repeat bad behaviors less.
Actionable Advice: Always keep in mind your feelings after repeating either good or bad conduct, and if you can, write them down.
There is a good likelihood that you will feel bad after smoking, consuming unhealthy food, expressing anger at someone, or failing to exercise. Do I want to feel this way for the rest of my life? you should ask yourself. Or I’d like to alter. You’ll know the answer to that question by listening to your own heart.
Make It Difficult: Inversion of the Third Law (Response).
This is the work that we actually do. You observed a cue, felt a yearning, and executed a response. Our minds are always trying to make things easier for us by keeping us from having to learn everything from scratch every day. This is why we form habits. The likelihood of us repeating our undesirable habits reduces as difficulty rises. We are more prone to continue undesirable behaviours if they are simple to perform.
Therefore, what we must do is add more friction or steps between us and our harmful habits.
Either you can handle it on your own or you may enlist a friend’s assistance who will be pleased to assist you.
Pick one negative habit that prevents you from repeating other positive habits as an actionable insight. Let’s imagine that social media prevents you from completing chores that are crucial for achieving your long- or short-term objectives.
Keep in mind what you’ve read about social media’s detrimental impacts on your brain and productivity (Law 2). In the morning, remove all social media apps from your smartphone. And remind yourself of their drawbacks whenever you feel the need to reinstall them or use them on another device.
These two taken together will assist you in permanently lowering your social media usage.
Inversion of the Fourth Law:
Make the Reward Unsatisfactory. This is the driving force behind why we actually engage in a particular activity, whether it’s good or negative. Smokers light up because they enjoy the sensation following a cigarette; it serves as their reward.
People who lift weights do so because they appreciate the feeling endorphins provide them after a workout, which makes them feel good. The reward is that sense of fulfillment or joy.
The way the human brain is wired, instant rewards come before delayed ones. What is rewarded right away is repeated.
The greatest way to stop undesirable behaviors is to make them as unpleasant as possible at the time. Getting an accountability partner who is as motivated as you are and has comparable goals to yours is one way you can do it. Make the unpleasant and visible price of your bad habits public.
Find a partner with whom you can share accountability and urge them to hold you responsible for your misbehavior. They must be someone you know extremely well, such as your husband, siblings, girlfriend/boyfriend, or anyone else who is in some way close to you.