Nobody likes a bad habit. Whether you realize it or not, some of the things you do throughout everyday life simply have no positive effect on your physical and emotional wellbeing. There are hundreds, if not thousands of bad habits that you may have experienced, are experiencing, or will experience in the future. Emotional eating, binge drinking, waking up late, skipping a workout, ignoring your loved ones, swearing, biting your nails, saying the word “like” way too many times, and drinking coffee are just a few to name. The list goes on. And yes, drinking coffee is a bad habit. Disagree? Do the research.

So what can you do? First off, do not listen to the people that tell you “just stop.” That is not advice at all. It is not all that simple. If it were, no one would have bad habits in the first place. And truth be told, chances are that anyone with a bad habit may feel bad about it and want to stop, they just do not know the proper way of doing so. The proper technique is to identify what is causing your problem. For example, if you are eating way too much food every day at a particular meal, chances are you are eating heaping portions of sugar. Sugar is a drug, if you did not know. Be smart about your choices when it comes to eating. Or, if you repeatedly smoke after class or on work break, chances are you are stressed. Not surprisingly, stress is the lead factor of bad habits. It also spikes insulin levels which may lead to weight gain and upset stomach. Find ways of getting closure with your stress so you can move on with your life and break your bad habits.

Think back to the point of your life when you never had the problem. Why do you think that is? What triggered it to start in the first place? Was it stress, or a new environment? Realize that the old you can be the new you. You do not have to change your identity to break a habit, you

simply have to yearn for the person you once were. If you did not do it back then, you most certainly can put an end to it now. The only one controlling your personality is you, and the only one who can make the change is you. Envision your success and act on it. It is so easy to get down on yourself after repeating the problem when you are trying to stop. But negative talk is not going to help you on this journey. Empower yourself to succeed with positive emotions. Do not compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to your former self before you first encountered the problem. How did you feel back then? Make the change.

As soon as you catch yourself doing the problem, make note of it. Write down on a piece of paper the time of the act, the environment of which you are in, how you are feeling both physically and emotionally, and why you think you did whatever it is you did. When you write things down, you send a signal to your brain that this information is important. If you constantly make note of your actions, you will feel obligated to put an end to it so you can free yourself of the burden. Associated feelings with particular actions will shape your mind to thinking there are either benefits or consequences with such an act.

Once you know the reason for your problem, you will have to take it slow. Go step by step. It is very rare that a bad habit can be broken overnight. Some may take as few as a few days, others as long as a few weeks. You will want to replace it with a new, good habit. So what are good habits? To give you some examples, the counter to waking up late would be to set not one, but two alarms to ensure you actually get out of bed. The counter to drinking coffee is to replace it with water. The counter to skipping a workout is to make sure you have a set schedule for the week and follow it. Of course, the list goes on. It is going to take a certain amount of discipline and willpower, which you most certainly have.

Planning to fail may sound odd to you, but if you stop and think about it, it is some of the best advice anyone can give you. The fact you are a human being means the journey will never be easy, and you are bound to fail at some point. Plan for it ahead of time. The best way to predict the future is to envision it ahead of time and create it yourself. There are going to be slip ups along the line, but that does not mean you cannot get the job done. It means you are making progress as long as you reflect on it and realize you made the mistake. Do not choose to accept failure. Choose to reflect and take action on it.

Lastly, it may very well be beneficial to penalize yourself for repeating the act. Do not take this the wrong way! Examples are doing 20 pushups every time you mess up, running a mile, or doing something that will benefit your health and wellbeing, despite it being something you may not want to do. Other examples include reading a chapter of homework, buying someone lunch, or going for a thirty-minute walk. Be creative with it. You have the power.

The journey is going to be hard. Who ever said it would be easy? To ensure your successful transformation, take these strategies to heart and use them to your advantage. Your past is over, your present is now. How will you predict your future?

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