We all have habits, some good and some not so good. These are behaviors that we’ve learned and that occur almost automatically. And most of us have a habit we’d like to break, or one we’d like to develop.
For most people, it takes about four weeks for a new behavior to become routine, or habit. The following steps can make it easier to establish a new behavior pattern.
1. The first step is to set your goal.
Especially when you are trying to stop or break a habit, you should try to phrase your goal as a positive statement. For example, instead of saying “I will quit snacking at night”, say “I will practice healthy eating habits”. You should also write down your goal. Commiting it to paper helps you to commit. It can also help if you tell your goal to someone you trust.
2. Decide on a replacement behavior.
(If your goal is to develop a new habit then your replacement behavior will be the goal itself.) This step is very important when you are trying to break a habit. If you want to stop a behavior, you must have a superior behavior to put in it’s place. If you don’t, the old behavior pattern will return.