The first step to solving any problem of breaking any habit is to identify what’s causing it in the first place. After all, identifying the problem brings you one step closer to a solution.
So when it comes to breaking an old habit and/or starting a new one, ask yourself “Why?” or “Why not?”
Let’s say you want to quit smoking – easier said than done, I know. The first step would be to make a note of what you’re doing every time you reach for a cigarette. Every time you reach that trigger point (the cue, like we talked about yesterday) jot down why you wanted a cigarette. You’ll probably find there are more cues than you realize. Once you know what they are, you can begin to consciously identify them and deal with them as and when they arise.
Let’s say your research shows that you tend to light up a cigarette every time you make a phone call – you might not even realize you’re doing this. You’ll be able to conclude that you find making phone calls stressful. So in addition to looking for something to do that relieves the stress of making a phone call, you could also cut down on the number of calls you make – substituting e-mails or texts instead.
One thing you should NOT do (and I’ll talk a bit more about this later) is replace one bad habit with another. If you find yourself lighting up on your way home from work after a stressful day, DON’T stop off at a bar or liquor store and substitute cigarettes with booze. That’s just starting another habit you’ll need to break further down the line.
PS. Your copy of my guide to building better habits is waiting for you here: