Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just ditch your bad habits? Everyone would do it, but it’s not exactly that easy. You probably know that your bad habits are hurting your productivity. They just seem easier than trying to embrace new and better habits, though.
Often your bad habits just feel better, at least temporarily. It’s not until you start regretting not getting more accomplished that you realize it’s time to a make change. That’s where the habit replacement method comes into place.
Bad Habits Lead Nowhere
Bad habits often seem good at first. For instance, you skip breakfast in order to sleep longer. Or, you work later to get more accomplished versus going to bed earlier.
However, your good intentions are hurting you. Yes, you got thirty minutes more to sleep by skipping breakfast, but your mind and body stay sluggish without any food to fuel them. You did get more work done, but the next day, you accomplish far less because you didn’t get enough sleep.
Bad habits lead nowhere, even if the habit doesn’t seem that bad. Business Insider talked to experts about common bad habits and how they kill your productivity. For example, business consultant Nilofer Merchant says it’s better and more productive to have walking meetings versus sitting. Moving around more improves how you think and energizes you.
Don’t Eliminate Bad Habits, Replace
You know bad habits are, well, bad. But, what do you do about it? It’s not so easy to just ditch your bad habits. That’s why you shouldn’t just try to get rid of them. Instead, replace them.
It might seem like a weird way to think about it, but instead of eliminating something from your life, you’re turning it into something good. For instance, you might compromise and eat a small breakfast of yogurt and fruit, while sleeping twenty minutes longer versus thirty.
If you tend to scroll through Facebook during every work break, go for a short walk around your house to get fresh air. At first, you might do this every other break, gradually replacing your bad social media habit. The more you push out the bad habit with a good one, the better you feel, helping you stick to better habits.
Choose One Habit at a Time
It takes anywhere from eighteen to two-hundred fifty-four days. The study found that on average, most people take around sixty-six days. This means it may take a little way to fully replace bad habits with good ones. So, make it easier by only taking on one habit at a time. Make your goals easier to achieve by setting many small goals than one big goal.
When you start seeing success, stack on another good habit that’s related. For example, taking a short walk versus checking up on everyone on Facebook could lead to healthy snacks. After each walk, eat a piece of fruit or drink a glass of water. Both help your brain to focus better and give you more energy.
Reward Yourself for Success
Technically, rewarding yourself for everything can create more bad habits. However, the right rewards lead to lasting productive habits. Pick rewards that don’t harm you in any way.
For example, if you typically watch TV in the evenings for a few hours, your reward for a full week of success might be to watch a new movie you’ve been excited about. Or, successfully ditch your bad habits and replacing them with good ones for a month might lead to taking two days off to go on a short, inexpensive trip.
Having rewards gives you something to look forward to. Most importantly, if you fail one day, don’t stop. It takes time to fully replace your bad habits. Start with your biggest productivity killer. Once you replace one bad habit, it’ll be much easier to replace the others.