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So, the new year is finally here. You’re ready to say goodbye to all of the negativity of the past year and welcome in all of the positive, fresh, and exciting ventures headed your way.
If you’re looking for a way to frame yourself for a productive, healthy, and exciting new year, let’s try changing it up. Rather than drafting a list of resolutions, let’s create a list of habits worth breaking in the new year.
Are you a mindless eater that’s ready to put the snacking away for good? Are you always nit-picking a situation, causing more problems for yourself? Do you hit snooze one (or two) too many times in the morning?
We all have them, and we all hate them—a bad habit can take your day from productive to sluggish, healthy to gluttonous, or relaxing to downright stressful.
But, how do you break a bad habit?
We’ve got your back. Here is a seven-step, foolproof plan to leave your bad habits in the past and become the best version of yourself in the new year.
Follow these seven steps to break even the most stubborn habits this year.
Before you start creating a list of hundreds of bad habits, let’s start small. Choose one single habit that is causing the most pain in your life.
This is the time to be specific.
Saying, “I want to get more sleep” or “I want to eat healthier” won’t get you where you want to be. These vague statements aren’t specific enough to break a bad habit. If you want to eat healthier, try something thinking about the things you are doing that are getting in the way.
Think of your bad habits terms of behaviors—eating in front of the TV, going out to eat multiple times per week, going to the grocery store unprepared. Drill down on these behaviors to really find the habit you want to focus on and fix.
Identifying the roots of your habits will help you better understand why this bad habit is sticking to you so fervently. And, of course, this is one of the hardest parts.
Start by taking a look around your space. If you’re having a hard time with eating healthy, keeping junk food on the counter or a fridge filled with beer isn’t going to help you. Assess your space and try to find the root of your bad habit.
If you see a pile of chips and cookies on the counter—throw them out! Now’s the time to look your problem-starters in the face and say goodbye for good.
This part is challenging, but it’s the first step in the right direction. You’re destroying the roots of your bad habits to rid them for good.
Make sure you get them all.
Now that you will be less triggered to start up your bad habit, it’s time to create a plan—but make sure it’s doable for you.
Saying that you’ll never eat a chip for the entire year sounds great, but is that realistic? Rather than making a life-changing declaration, start small. Don't declare to never eat a chip for as long as you live. Instead, try setting a goal to only indulge in them once per month.
Setting a specific time or amount to change will help you from having accidental binges or falling off the wagon altogether. You’ll break your habit while reaching a new goal in the meantime. Win, win.
If you want to eat healthier, stocking your kitchen full of frozen or processed foods is only going to make it harder. Set yourself up for success by being prepared.
Do your homework before going to the grocery store. This way, you can stock your cart with good foods that you actually enjoy eating. Stock your pantry with healthy snacks that you won’t feel bad about eating when the snacking urge strikes. If the store has too many distractions or temptations, sign up for a grocery delivery service.
All of these things will help make breaking your bad habit so much easier. There will be no temptations looming over you.
During your habit-breaking journey, you’re going through changes. No matter how big or small they are, they are changes—and changes can be hard.
Don’t forget to stop and reward yourself for sticking to your plan.
Give yourself a day of self-care, take some time off and go for a walk outside, or do anything that gives you the sense of feeling rewarded—make sure your rewards don’t cross the line of indulgence back into your bad habit.
Kicking your plan into high gear will start to unveil the bigger picture to your new, bad habit-free life. You’ve already done the hard part—you’ve noticed a problem, honed in on it, and you’ve even started living out your plan to change it for good.
Live and observe. By taking in the change around you, you’re not only making it easier to free yourself from the shackles of the bad habit but are growing and developing into the person you want to become. This sense of empowerment will be the fuel to the rest of your bad habit breaking cycle.