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5 Ways to Free Yourself from Bad Habits and Bad Moods

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."- Will Durant

I am what you would call a creature of habit. I like having systems and routines. It's comforting for someone like me who kind of needs to know how to plan the next moment.. or day. Or 6 years. I'm a Capricorn, judge yourself. What I've noticed though is that some of my habits or lack thereof are connected to my moods.

When the routine is off, my mood is off. When the habits aren't conducive to what I want to achieve. I feel that. I also realized how much our habits are tied to discipline and as you may know, discipline is essential to success. So I had to start strategizing on how to create systems that work for me, my mindset and my lifestyle. Let's get in to it.

discipline is essential to success

What is a Habit, How to Break a Habit, and Why do We Form Habits?

Ok first let's talk about what a habit actually is. We hear all the time how habits can transform your life. There are so many programs on this where you simply apply a specific goal for 21 days and watch how it becomes a habit. Continue for 90 days and it becomes your lifestyle.

We form habits because of the motivation we get from our brain. It is a subconscious process that helps us to do things without thinking about them.

A habit is a behavior that you repeat often enough for it to become automatic. Habits can be formed in two ways: through repetition or through association.

Every habit has three components: a cue, a routine, and a reward. The cue is the trigger for the habit, such as an alarm clock going off in the morning. The routine is what you do when the cue occurs, such as getting out of bed and starting your day with breakfast. The reward is what you get out of doing this routine, such as feeling refreshed after eating breakfast or knowing that you're starting your day on time and getting everything done before lunchtime.

5 Steps to Help You Break A Habit

Breaking a habit is not as difficult as it may seem. It can be done in a matter of weeks, but it requires commitment and a plan.

  1. The first step is to identify the habit you want to break. Is this a habit of eating too many snacks while you watch TV or are you staying up too late and starting to create a poor sleep cycle? Decide on what you want to change.

  2. The second step is to create an incentive for yourself by rewarding yourself for every day that you don’t do the habit. On the days that you get through your reading, give yourself a special chocolate or a few extra minutes for your favorite shows. Creating a reward system helps to rewire your brain activity.

  3. The third step is to find replacements for the habit. For example, if you want to stop watching TV at night, then set up an alternative activity like reading that you can do instead of watching TV at night.

  4. The fourth step is to be aware of your triggers so that you know when your cravings are happening and what causes them so that you can take steps in advance to avoid them or deal with them before they happen. If you know you want to stop drinking but don't have the discipline to be in drinking environments just yet, remove yourself. Understand what triggers you and try to avoid these things in advance.

  5. The fifth step is to have a support system. Whether it's your romantic partner, your friends or even an app, enlist an accountability partner to help you get through the difficult stages and also to celebrate the good parts.

Breaking Bad Habits Begins With Achieving Good Self-Awareness & Awareness

So, what does it actually take to break a bad habit? What does it take for someone to be able to resist temptation? And how does one go about achieving good self-awareness and awareness of their environment?

Psychologists Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund proposed this definition:

"Self-awareness is the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don't align with your internal standards. If you're highly self-aware, you can objectively evaluate yourself, manage your emotions, align your behavior with your values, and understand correctly how others perceive you."

In order to break a bad habit, one must first achieve good self-awareness and awareness of their environment. This means understanding what triggers their urge for the addictive behavior and developing strategies for resisting these triggers.

As you can see, it's all about how YOU view YOU. How do you assess your daily activities and outcomes. How do these habits make you feel? Understanding who you are, who you want to be and what you want to achieve is one of the most essential ways to help you become more self-aware, more disciplined and capable of handling the next big thing that's coming into your life.

Now, what habits are you changing this season?

Re-Kenya Roberson is an author, creative consultant, mom, and a bunch of other things that you won't actually remember later. Follow her on Instagram @iamrekenya

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