How To Change Bad Habits

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Change your habitsChanging a habit often seems easy but it is very difficult in reality. If you are looking at habits that you have developed knowingly or unintentionally in recent months then changing them may actually be a little easy but old habits are very difficult to change or get rid of. To change a habit you need to look at several aspects of the habit, need to introspect and create a plan.

The first two things that you need to bring about in yourself are strong desire and perseverance. Without either of the two you cannot change a habit and it wouldn’t be just very difficult but impossible. Also, both the mental attributes are actually interlinked. If you do not develop a strong desire, you cannot have perseverance and if you do not work on your perseverance then any strong desire can succumb naturally over time. Along with strong desire and perseverance, you would need a plan. The plan should be well thought out, scheduled and you should reward yourself for sticking to the plan. Without rewards, you would not see yourself being compelled or motivated enough to change a habit. If you get these three aspects right then how to make a change in habit will not be very difficult. What seems easy can actually be easy with a proper plan.

Now, you should identify one habit you need to change. You cannot approach two habits or more at the same time. You would not be able to bring in a strong desire to walk out of many things that you have been accustomed with. For instance, do not approach quitting smoking and starting a diet at the same time. Quit smoking and then start dieting or do it the other way. With such an approach, you would be able to cultivate that strong desire for changing one habit.

To have perseverance, you need rewards. When you bring a change in any habit, the body and mind would crave for or to do what you have been used to. If you want to wake up early then you must reward yourself for doing so. For instance, you can use a distraction in the morning which you like that will motivate you to get off the bed. Your favorite breakfast may be a good treat to keep you motivated.

Finally, Keep this In Mind!

Lastly, you should keep reminding yourself the change you want to bring in and the benefits of doing so. This would eventually provide you with the perseverance needed to stay on track.

© Copyright 2013 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Change your habits