The Only 3 Techniques You’ll Ever Need To Break Your Bad Habits
Many of my clients come to see me as a coach and hypnotherapist, to help them break unhealthy and destructive habits; whether it’s smoking, over indulging in alcohol at the weekends, having an addiction to sugar or even the after-dinner munchies.
Your subconscious mind likes to create short cuts
Your mind is super clever, and is always looking for short cuts. Can you imagine how much time and energy it would take to consciously drive your car or even just brush your teeth in the morning? Every single one of your actions would be conscious and deliberate…. and it would take aaaaaageeeesss! So of course we don’t do this, we switch on to auto-pilot.
This is how the human mind works, it looks to create automated ‘programs’ that we don’t need to consciously think about. This in turn frees our brain up to do other important stuff. We’re evolutionary wired this way for survival.
But what does this have to do with breaking your bad habits once and for all? Well you can use this knowledge to your advantage.
How to re-wire the programs and break your bad habits
A habit is quite simply a default program for something.
To break a habit, you there need to rewire your mind to run a new program, one that is going to be more helpful to you. There are a few great ways to do this, but I’m going to focus on my top three techniques.
The THREE Techniques to break bad habits:
Technique 1: Change up your routine
Do you sit in the same seat each night for dinner? Do you have a set task you do before you go for that cigarette? Do you drive home the same way every night after work? Our aim is to make your subconscious mind go ‘hang on a minute, this is different from yesterday!’.
We want to put a glitch in the system. By changing your routine, it signals to your mind that something is different. Sitting in a different chair having dinner may sound simple (and it is!), but suddenly we’re creating a new program.
So, what can you change in your current routine?
Technique 2: Find out the habits’ positive intention
This may sound strange, but every action on some level has a positive intention. If this makes no sense, you’ll have to trust me on this until you read this next part.
Let me ask you, what is the positive intention behind your bad habit? If it’s eating chocolate or drinking wine as soon as you come through the door, then what are these doing for you? Could they be helping you to relax, taking your mind off work or giving you comfort? Think about the intention and then ask yourself what else could do to satisfy the same need? How else could you give yourself comfort? How else can you manage your stress?
Technique 3: Set up a new cue and reward
We can consciously create new habits by understanding how habits are formed.
Habits are formed in 3 steps:
The Cue: The cue is what will trigger your new behaviour. This could be a visual cue such as placing your running shoes by the front door or leaving a water bottle on your desk.
The Routine: This step focuses on the action you will take when you see your cue. This could be going out for a 20 minutes walk, drinking more water, or buying your groceries on the way home from work!
The Reward: This is the benefit you will get from doing your new habit. If the reward is positive, then you’ll have a deeper desire to repeat the action when the cue pops up! Eventually this repetition is what forms new habits.
Examples of rewards include feeling energised from a gym session, or they could be more tangible such as buying yourself a new glass water bottle to drink from, or saving up for a weekend away.
Over time these new choices become part of your routine and you don’t give them a second thought!
I wonder what habit you’re on a mission to break, and which of the above tricks you’re going to try first?