Habits are one of those crazy things you can suddenly feel compelled to pick up from another person, something that has sparked an interest for you, or even something you’ve held onto since childhood. We can embrace both good and bad habits — but I’m guessing that most people have more negatives habits lurking around. These are the most complex chains to break. They give us a sense of identity and allow us to play it safe. We may not even know the underlying reasons why, and this is where the journey of discovering your self comes into the picture.
Deciding to break a habit isn’t enough to stop the behaviour. If it were that easy, everyone would be skinny and rich! It takes time, commitment and dedication to move above and beyond the hold this habit has on you and your behaviour.
How long does it take?
You may be wondering how long it will take to break your habit. Well, it depends really, on what it is and how long you’ve had it. The more psychologically and physically attached we are to this habit, the harder it is. Even more so is when we associate pleasure with this habit. Those are the hardest to break. Let’s take my sugar addiction as an example. I was the kind of person who would have four sugars in my coffee several times a day. When 3 pm hit, I would be opening my desk draw, rummaging inside it to find something that contained sugar. I always needed a hit to get me through the afternoon and ready for dinner time. It was a vicious cycle, and I never once thought it was a bad thing at all. Luckily, when I started bodybuilding, I changed my diet completely. That didn’t come with setbacks. This sugar addiction had me in a lot of torment for about 6–9 months. But I stuck with it and kept fighting. That’s how long it took me to finally say that I wasn’t addicted to the white substance.
Research indicates that it takes about 21 days to break a habit for some people. It may take longer. As you can see from my example, it took several months to break that nasty habit. Breaking a bad habit is a personal factor.
Four ways to break your most sabotaging habits
- The stages of habit-breaking
As you would guess, breaking a habit involves conscious and consistent effort…