I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD. It’s been bugging me since I was a child. I had these habits and compulsions before that were not contributing to my productivity. It took me a while before I researched it and learned how to stop bad habits. There were techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT, mindfulness meditation from Buddhism and self-hypnosis. They were all helpful to me over time. But on top of these, there are practical ways to break these bad habits. Here are some:
- Workout motivation – One cause of our laziness to workout is because we are visualizing the things we need to do before we exercise such as preparing our gear, driving to the gym and doing a common workout program that is not exciting anymore. Create then a habit to sleep on your workout clothes. It may also get you motivated if you search and set an online workout program online before you sleep. A walking distance gym will even break your habit of not exercising because you don’t have to drive before you do the actual workout. Another way of doing it is to put some dumbbells in your hallway or near the bedroom that will trigger you to start moving.
- Eating junk food and sweets. Replace your sweets into fruits and ready-to-eat vegetables/salad. Changing the content of your fridge is the best way to avoid junk food because even if you crave for them at night, it will give you a hard time getting one and rather eat fruits in your fridge. Again, changing your environment is the key. Cues trigger bad habits and having stored junk food is a cue for you to make the habit. This also applies to smoking and drinking.
- Mindless scrolling in social media. There’s a tool “news feed eradicator” that help you set up your Facebook newsfeed to positive quotes instead of the noise around the platform. Another practical way is to allocate time in your day to browse social media and make sure to set time limits. I do mine only after my morning workout for 5 minutes. So I removed my FB app and used only the desktop version to browse.
- Reading. Reading doesn’t have to be an actual book read. I listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and YouTube videos almost every time I drive, walk going to work, running or exercising. Not having the time to read is never an excuse on this day of age. These mini learnings will result in an increased level of inspiration and motivation to achieve your goals.
- Sick leave or not going to work. Again, it is all about changing your environment and cues. Many people don’t feel like going to work because they have not defined their WHY. Why am I going to work? Why am I working on this task? If you don’t have a reason for something, then there’s no fuel to do it. So change your environment by seeking answers to your WHYs. Bombard yourself with positive affirmations, quotes, and inspiration of the answers to that why to trigger cues of working. In my case, I always visualize smiles on our clients’ faces if they get to use and benefit in our products. I imagine them thanking me for what we have done for them.
In summary, if you want to break bad habits, change your environment and setup cues that will trigger positive habits.