Why You Can’t Break Your Bad Habits

bad habits

I’ve tried many different ways to break my bad habits. But none of the conventional tips and tricks brought me lasting success.

We try the weirdest things to get rid of our bad habits. And we blindly believe every single person who gives us advice on the topic.

The most popular advice is this: “Replace a bad habit with a good one.”

It’s wrong. It doesn’t work.

I’ve discovered a much more effective way of changing our lives by changing our habits. I’d love to share it with you. But first, let’s ask ourselves a question.

What’s A Bad Habit?

To me, everything we do that doesn’t have a positive return is a bad habit. Sometimes, it’s what we don’t do that’s the bad habit. For example, I consider laziness as a bad habit.

If you’re too lazy to get out of bed in the morning, clean your house, or go to the gym; you’re not a worthless person—you simply have a bad habit that you need to get rid of.

That’s how I look at most unproductive behavior. I’m not saying that everyone has the same ideas about the meaning of life. But if you, like me, believe that the purpose of life is to be useful, you need the right habits to back that up.

Simply put, anything that prevents you from being useful is a bad habit. We all know that a lot of our behavior is bad. It doesn’t require a genius to understand that eating junk food, smoking, drinking alcohol, complaining, watching the news, browsing social media, lashing out to people, and sitting on your ass all day are bad things.

They have no positive return. No one feels good after doing those things. And yet, we keep sticking to our bad habits because we can’t break them.

Advice About Habits Is Misunderstood

What’s the best way to form a habit? I’ve been researching that question for more than a decade. And I’ve tried every piece of advice that I’ve read about.

I’ve learned that you’re more likely to actually form a habit when you focus on ONE habit at a time. To be honest, that’s not a groundbreaking finding. Every single person who writes about habits will tell you that.

But as humans often do, we’ll blindly assume that the same is true for BREAKING habits.

However, it doesn’t work that way. I only discovered that recently. I will tell you more about that in a minute.

Here’s something else that I’ve learned recently. We have the ability to form more than one habit at a time.

“What?! So I don’t need to focus on one habit at a time?”

The most common criticism that I’ve heard about the “form one habit at a time” idea is that it takes “forever” to change your life. I think there’s some truth in that. Given that it sometimes takes months to form a habit, it can take years to build a foundation of good habits that support your goals.

To be honest, that’s not my biggest concern. Like the cliché says, patience is a virtue. And I think we all need to be more patient. Good things come in time.

But that’s not the problem most people face with habits. Most of us give up before we actually have formed a habit. And if we quit a good habit, we often fall back to our old (bad) behavior before the season changes.

You Need A More Extreme Approach

Look, I’m not saying that replacing bad habits with good habits is bad advice. The problem is that most of us only apply that advice to one habit at a time.

And yes, that does not work.

Think about it. If you drink alcohol every day and eat unhealthy food, what will happen if you quit drinking? If you continue to eat candy bars, salted nuts, potato chips, burgers, pizza, it will not take long before you think “a beer would sure taste nice with this burger.”

If you’re addicted to consuming content on social media and watching tv shows, you can’t “just” get rid of your social media apps on your phone. If you have a tv, you’ll simply binge watch some crap on Netflix. And before you know it, you’ll reinstall those apps with one click. Most of the time, you can pick up right where you left off. You don’t even have to sign in again.

Don’t go down that road. Instead, be committed to change. If you truly want to break your bad habits, go extreme on yourself. Yes, I’m actually saying you should take it seriously. Why? Because your life is a serious matter.

Remember this: If you want to break your bad habits, BREAK THEM ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

Go all in. Or don’t go at all.

What We Need Is A Different Lifestyle

It all comes down to one question. How serious are you about living a purposeful life?

I’ve asked myself that question many times in the past. And every now and then, I still have to ask myself that. Falling back on bad habits happens for a reason.

Life is hard. We experience setbacks, stress, and hurt all the time. And our natural reaction is to escape our challenges. Every time we say things like “I need to relax with a glass of wine on the couch,” we’re fooling ourselves.

We’re trying to escape the desperation of life. Inside, we feel lonely and empty. And we try to fill it with bullshit. Now, that bullshit is different for every person.

I might crack open a bag of potato chips and watch a movie, you might be on the phone all night with your friends, another person might hit the nightclub to pop pills, and another one might buy the latest gadget.

But if you want to make a contribution and make yourself useful during the little time you’ve been granted on this planet, you and I both need a different lifestyle.

We need to take care of our body and mind. We need to sleep well, eat healthy, work out, read books, reflect on our lives, and most importantly: Be someone others can count on. You can’t do that with bad habits.

What’s Next?

Think about how serious you are about living a meaningful life. Then, identify the habits that are holding you back. If you’re looking for inspiration, I’ve created a list of 11 unproductive habits that I’ve quit in the past.

Once you’ve identified your bad habits, decide to quit them ALL. And decide that RIGHT NOW.

Now, all of a sudden, you’re a new man or woman. You’ve been given a clean slate. You can form new habits. This article with a few practical tips to form habits might help.

Remember earlier, when I said that you don’t have to form only one habit at a time? What I meant was that if you quit ALL your bad habits, you have the mental ability to form more than one habit at a time.

There’s only one limitation: Focus on one habit per area of your life. To me, the areas are career, health, learning, money, and relationships.

For your career, you might want to show up earlier every day. For your health, you can run every day. For learning, you can spend an hour a day on learning a new skill. For your relationships, you can practice kindness. For your money, you can save 20% of your income.

And yes, you can do all those things. Why not? But remember, your chance of success decreases when you try to take on too much. Can you learn multiple skills at the same time? Can you save money for your retirement and buy a new car? Maybe, but you’ll be much more successful if you do just one thing at a time.

We can achieve many great things in life. We only need the right habits to support us.

 

Daily Habits That Will Improve Your Life

10 Daily Habits That Will Improve Your Life

In the sea of habits that could enhance your life, only a few of them stand outfrom the rest and give you an edge in life.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. “

— Aristotle


1. Get Continuous Rest

Working in a high capacity for a long period of time can exhaust anyone, andif you are not taking the proper amount of time to rest, your body will crash,and it will have consequences on everything you do.

That’s why it makes a lot of sense to start everything here. Now, I won’t tell you to sleep for 8 hours every night or to wake up at a specific hour. That’sentirely up to you.

Instead, your goal should be to find the right time to go to bed and the right time to wake up, so you can get enough rest, remain healthy and feelenergized.


2. Wake up Early

The moment you step outside and let the daily momentum kick in, you slowlyreduce the control over how your day pans out. That control is difficult to re-gain later in the day.

That’s why it’s essential to wake up earlier and use the first couple of hours so that you can take control over your state of mind and your body. In those few hours, you’ll kickstart the day in the way it suits you best.


3. Eat Healthy & Exercise

The sedentary lifestyle is slowly killing us, and we are not even noticing it.

You need to make a deal with yourself that no matter what happens in your life, health comes first — which means that you need to take care of yourself first before you engage in anything else.

There are only two things you need to keep in mind:

  • Healthy Diet
  • Physical Activity

Make small actions every day, and let the compound effect do its thing.


4. Meditate

We live in a world where everything is designed to steal your attention(including this article), and that makes it challenging to find a peaceful moment just for yourself.

And these moments are necessary if we’re going to keep clarity and calmnessof our mind.

That’s why you need to find few minutes a day — preferably earlier in the day,to create a grounding effect that will help you center yourself, and re-focus on what’s important.

If nothing, just to breathe and calm your thoughts.


5. Plan

It’s easy to get swept away with the dynamic environment we live in.

Because of this, you need to constantly pull yourself back and plan out how you want your life to unfold instead of letting the external circumstances do it for you.

Execution is what matters, but this depends solely on your ability to plan and follow through on that plan.


6. Focus on High Leverage Activities

Not all things you do will give you a high return on investment.

Your time is precious, and you should be careful where you’re allocating it.

Whenever in doubt, look at your plan, and ask yourself:

What are the 20% of activities that will yield the 80% of the results?

And then do it.


7. Acquire New Skills

Know that your goals dictate what you need to learn.

You should never randomly acquire skills. Try instead to learn the skills that will help you achieve your goals, no matter in what area of your life.

Know that every skill you acquire will not be beneficial on its own but will stack up with every skill you’ve acquired earlier, and you will start movingforward.


8. Read

Reading, no matter the genre sparks creativity and unleashes your imagination.

The reason for this is because every new idea a book can offer (no matter how small it seems) interacts with the knowledge you already have.

So whenever you open a book, look for just one idea, and see how you canapply it in everyday life.


9. Interact with Doers

If you are the most active person in the room, you are in the wrong room.

Find people that are doing something incredible with their lives and learn from them.

Even interacting with people who are driven and are accomplishingsomething in their life will serve as an inspiration. It will get you to take action.


10. Reflect & Evaluate

Time is passing by faster than ever because we have more things thatpreoccupy us.

This makes it challenging to take a break to reflect and evaluate how our lives are turning out.

So, just before you go to bed, give yourself a goal to evaluate your day and what can be improved the next day.

Not only this but every couple of months you should take a day or two to evaluate your plans. To see what delivers results, and what needs to be cut.

Then, adapt your plan and don’t be afraid to pivot if necessary.