Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 20, 2020

How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in 2 Months

How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in 2 Months

The cycle of bad habits is what keeps us living small and stops us from reaching our true potential. Breaking a bad habit isn’t as hard as it seems; despite being a CEO of a company and raising two children, I still managed to break 3 bad habits I had within 2 months. Yes, that means I learned how to break bad habits in less than 21 days.

I took steps to eliminate them one at a time. Habits such as drinking Coke every day, slouching when sitting, and not having a consistent exercise routine.

How did I break these habits? I used the Control Alternate Delete Method (Ctrl Alt Del).

What is this method, and why is it so effective? Read on to find out how to break bad habits with this unique method.

How to Break Bad Habits With the Control Alternate Delete Method

We all notice on some level what our bad habits are. A lot of the time, we choose to ignore the negative effects the habit can lead to.

For me, I was sitting most of the day in front of my computer at work in a slouching position. I drank Coke every single day in an attempt to stay awake. I put off any kind of exercise regime because I felt that it was better to just relax and have fun after a whole day of work.

As a result, I was leading a very unhealthy lifestyle, suffering from weight gain and back pain. I needed to make a change.

Advertising

I started to read books about building habits such as The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan, and The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. After reading all these books, I’ve come up with my own method to quit bad habits—the Ctrl Alt Del Method.

I started by focusing on just one bad habit, the first one being the sheer amount of Coke I was consuming each day.

Every day, I applied the Ctrl Alt Del Method, and after two weeks, not only did I stop drinking Coke every day (I only drank one can in 2 weeks), but I started the better habit of drinking 8 glasses of water every day instead.

After eliminating one bad habit, I moved on to the other two with this same method, and a month later I was:

  • Hitting the gym twice a week.
  • Improving my sitting posture, not only at the office but also at home and everywhere else, improving my back pain.
  • Gaining core muscle, which improved my back pain as well.
  • Losing fat around my waist, which went from 36″ (considered obese level) to 32″ (normal level).

If I can improve my life using this method, then so can you. Using this structure to eliminate your bad habits will increase your success and replace your bad habits with more positive ones.

Control: Master Your Desire

Master your desire

    Identify Your Triggers

    Bad habits, such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and snacking too much, trigger the release of dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain.[1] Although you might not like the end result, they give you a positive outcome in the moment.

    When learning how to break bad habits, It’s important to identify what is triggering you to continually act out your habit. This isn’t always an easy step because our habits have been built up over a long period of time.

    Advertising

    If you need help in identifying your triggers, here’s a list of common bad habits and their triggers: 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

    Self-Reflect

    To help you work out your triggers, do a bit of self-reflection. Ask yourself questions such as:

    • What comfort are you getting from this habit?
    • Why do you need comfort?

    For example, I chose to drink Coke because it tasted good, and it made me feel good when I was stressed. I slouched only when I sat for too long working at my desk and started to feel tired. I skipped exercises because every day after work I felt I already did enough work and didn’t want to work out.

    If you choose to eat fast food every night, you’re probably telling yourself you’re too busy to cook, but ask yourself why. What are your priorities?

    Maybe you have a lack of self-worth that means you don’t have the self-love to want to look after your health. Perhaps it’s a sign you’re not making enough time for important routines like shopping and creating a healthy meal yourself to avoid junk food. Maybe you’ve always had a belief that you’re a bad cook.

    Write a Diary

    As you’re learning how to break bad habits, write down your thoughts and feelings around each habit. Writing things down forces the brain to think harder.[2] This helps you to find the source to your stress or limiting negative beliefs.

    Alternate: Find a Replacement

    Find a replacement

      Find a Positive Alternative Habit

      Once you think you’ve discovered your trigger, try to find a similar but healthy good habit. This is where I replaced Coke with lemon water; slouching with simply taking a walk and stretching my back every hour; and chilling at home after work with workout exercises that I actually found fun.

      Advertising

      When learning how to break bad habits, you could decide to walk to the office instead of driving or getting off the bus earlier to walk. You could switch to a healthier breakfast cereal instead of grabbing a sugary snack when you head out the door.

      By doing this, you aren’t getting rid of the act altogether like you would if you completely gave something up with nothing to fill that void. This helps your brain accept the improved habit more.

      Create a Defense Plan

      Everyone has moments of weakness when they want to revert back to the bad habit. This is where a plan can help counteract these moments.

      Think of things you can do when the temptations come. For example, if you want to check your phone less, ask your friend or partner to keep it for you or switch it off and read a book. If you’re just starting an exercise routine, get someone to do it with you to keep you accountable.

      Decide on something you will do once you feel triggered to go back to your old habit. Repeating these positive alternative habits consistently will help wire your brain to see them as your normal new habit over time.

      Delete: Remove Temptations

      Remove temptations

        Remove Stuff That Reminds You of the Bad Habit

        Getting rid of anything that reminds you of your bad habit is essential when you’re learning how to break bad habits. For example, I got rid of Coke in my office and at home and replaced my usual office chair with an exercise ball. It makes it much easier to stop slipping back in a weak moment.

        Avoid All Kinds of Temptations

        In the same vein, avoid places or people that you know will tempt you back into that bad habit. Don’t go to the supermarket on an empty stomach to avoid the temptation to buy trashy snacks; don’t drive past that fast food joint, but find an alternative route instead; say no more often to the friend you know will get you drunk again this weekend.

        Advertising

        It’s all about not putting yourself in the situation where you’re in danger of relapsing.

        Conclusion

        The Control Alternate Delete Method uses the right steps you need to overcome your need to indulge in your bad habits. Working with your core psychology, emotions, and feelings behind your actions is what makes this method effective and easy to apply to all bad habits you have.

        Bad habits form easily, and making changes can seem difficult, but the good news is that it’s all about consistency and repetition in the long term.

        Start using the Control Alternate Delete Method today and you can learn how to break bad habits permanently.

        More Tips on Changing Habits

        Featured photo credit: Adrian Swancar via unsplash.com

        Reference

        More by this author

        Leon Ho

        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

        How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success how to start over How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide) Do You Know Your Motivation Style? How to Move Forward After Achieving Goal Success

        Trending in Habit

        1 Your Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better & Waking Up Productive 2 74 Healthy Habits That Will Drastically Improve Every Aspect of Your Life 3 How to Increase Willpower and Be Mentally Tough 4 9 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life 5 Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthier Life

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on June 1, 2021

        7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy (And Need to Change That)

        7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy (And Need to Change That)

        “Busy” used to be a fair description of the typical schedule. More and more, though, “busy” simply doesn’t cut it.

        “Busy” has been replaced with “too busy”, “far too busy”, or “absolutely buried.” It’s true that being productive often means being busy…but it’s only true up to a point.

        As you likely know from personal experience, you can become so busy that you reach a tipping point…a point where your life tips over and falls apart because you can no longer withstand the weight of your commitments.

        Once you’ve reached that point, it becomes fairly obvious that you’ve over-committed yourself.

        Advertising

        The trick, though, is to recognize the signs of “too busy” before you reach that tipping point. A little self-assessment and some proactive schedule-thinning can prevent you from having that meltdown.

        To help you in that self-assessment, here are 7 signs that you’re way too busy:

        1. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Took a Day Off

        Occasional periods of rest are not unproductive, they are essential to productivity. Extended periods of non-stop activity result in fatigue, and fatigue results in lower-quality output. As Sydney J. Harris once said,

        “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

        2. Those Closest to You Have Stopped Asking for Your Time

        Why? They simply know that you have no time to give them. Your loved ones will be persistent for a long time, but once you reach the point where they’ve stopped asking, you’ve reached a dangerous level of busy.

        3. Activities like Eating Are Always Done in Tandem with Other Tasks

        If you constantly find yourself using meal times, car rides, etc. as times to catch up on emails, phone calls, or calendar readjustments, it’s time to lighten the load.

        It’s one thing to use your time efficiently. It’s a whole different ballgame, though, when you have so little time that you can’t even focus on feeding yourself.

        4. You’re Consistently More Tired When You Get up in the Morning Than You Are When You Go to Bed

        One of the surest signs of an overloaded schedule is morning fatigue. This is a good indication that you’ve not rested well during the night, which is a good sign that you’ve got way too much on your mind.

        Advertising

        If you’ve got so much to do that you can’t even shut your mind down when you’re laying in bed, you’re too busy.

        5. The Most Exercise You Get Is Sprinting from One Commitment to the Next

        It’s proven that exercise promotes healthy lives. If you don’t care about that, that’s one thing. If you’d like to exercise, though, but you just don’t have time for it, you’re too busy.

        If the closest thing you get to exercise is running from your office to your car because you’re late for your ninth appointment of the day, it’s time to slow down.

        Try these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

        Advertising

        6. You Dread Getting up in the Morning

        If your days are so crammed full that you literally dread even starting them, you’re too busy. A new day should hold at least a small level of refreshment and excitement. Scale back until you find that place again.

        7. “Survival Mode” Is Your Only Mode

        If you can’t remember what it feels like to be ahead of schedule, or at least “caught up”, you’re too busy.

        So, How To Get out of Busyness?

        Take a look at this video:

        And these articles to help you get unstuck:

        Advertising

        Featured photo credit: Khara Woods via unsplash.com

        Read Next