Hack Your Habits — How to Let Go of Bad Habits and Start New Ones

Have you picked up a bad habit or two and now find yourself struggling to quit it or them? You don’t need to beat yourself up. We’re all human and can struggle from time to time with dropping habits that have become second nature to us. 

 Whether it’s indulging in too much alcohol, too many sweets, or anything else on the long list of things that are bad for us — we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves to help you hack your habits and replace them with healthier ones. 

 Swap It — The most straightforward and simplest hack for quitting a bad habit is to swap it with a new, better one. If grabbing an alcoholic beverage at dinner every day is your struggle, swap your drink for an alcohol-free IPA that tastes just as good without any of the heavy burden on your liver. 

 If your struggle is eating a bit too many sweets after a meal, get creative with a healthy substitute like yogurt with frozen fruit chunks for ice cream. Sometimes quitting cold turkey is just not an option. Find a swappable better-for-you product to take the place of your vice — one that won’t fill you with so many calories or regrets.  

 Trick Yourself — Maybe you’re finding it too difficult to swap in a replacement item for your eating or drinking habit. Sometimes our brain can catch on to the fact that we’ve taken away its favorite “bad item” and won’t settle for a stand-in. In this case, you may need to get even more sneaky with your substitute.  

 Look for products with the same look, texture and taste of whatever your beloved bad habit is. An unnoticeable swap is the hack to replacing any habit with a better one. 

 A glass of non-alcoholic rosé instead of your usual wine while sitting on the couch — something that tastes and looks exactly the same — is the perfect swap. You won’t notice the difference! For dessert, opt for an identical but sugar-free option of your favorite sugary snack. The secret is choosing items that share the same flavors and colors as the item in question.  

 Stick with It — Research says that it takes 66 days for a behavior to become automatic or habit-like. Each specific type of habit can vary on the exact time line needed to establish it, but generally speaking you can expect it to be about two months before you feel a breakthrough. 

 Hack your bad habit by sticking with your new swapped-in behavior for at least two months. This will give your mind enough time to create a new habit and make it easier to forget the old one. Which brings us to our next point: What should you do when you hit the two-month mark? 

 Set Your Eyes on a Prize — If you’re a goal-oriented person, then a prize at the finish line might be just the thing you need. If it’s a general rule that this new habit will take about two months to establish, then designate a reward for yourself to indulge in when you get there. 

 If you’re looking to kick a drinking habit, maybe your reward is the best non-alcoholic champagne on the market. If your goal is two months without a heavy dessert after dinner, maybe your prize is a giant low-calorie shaved ice with sugar-free syrup all over it. 

Find a prize or reward that works for your goal and excites you to look forward to. Keep your eyes on that prize until you’ve dropped your bad habit and picked up a new, better one. 

 Write It Down or Tell a Friend — Another hack for creating new habits and quitting bad ones is to tell someone you trust about it. Also be sure to physically write it down somewhere. These two actions don’t only help with accountability but allow you to visualize (and therefore manifest) your goal. By speaking it out loud and writing it on a piece of paper, you turn your goal into a tangible action item you can see and hear. 

 It may also be helpful to tell your friend how they can support you along the way in this journey toward a new positive habit. 

 Maybe you ask them to invite you out to dinner less to avoid temptations or simply try to invite you to do more physical activities if your goal is weight loss related. Make it a conversation where you communicate clearly what your struggle is, how you plan to overcome it and how they can support you along the way.  

 In summation, your bad habits can be broken. With a few of these hacks, you will be on the path toward new, healthier behavior patterns. Swap in better items for your temptations and trick your mind if you need to. 

 Find great products that taste and look just like the real thing. Be sure to ask for support along the way and keep your eyes on the finish line with a reward waiting for you! 

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