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Last Updated on February 19, 2019

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

How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 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’s quitting one habit 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.

So 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 ways these impact us.

    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 really unhealthy lifestyle suffering from weight gain and back pain.

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    I needed to make a change.

    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

      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. This is pure psychology.

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

      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 on my desk and started to feel tired. I skipped exercises because every day after work I felt I already did enough works 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. Maybe you’ve always had a belief that you’re a bad cook.

      Write a diary

      Write down your thoughts and feelings around this bad 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.

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      Alternate: Find a replacement

        Find a positive alternative habit

        Once you think you’ve discovered your trigger, try to find a similar but healthy option. 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.

        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 of 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 defence plan

        Everyone has moments of weakness and that want to revert back to the bad habit will rear its ugly head. 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 a starter for an exercise routine, like me, 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 stuff that reminds you of the bad habit

          Getting rid of anything that reminds you of your bad habit is essential. 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.

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          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.

          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 are easy to form and making changes can seem difficult but remember that it’s all about consistency and repetition.

          Start using the Control Alternate Delete Method today and you can stop a bad habit permanently.

          What bad habit do you want to put a stop to once and for all? You must set aside time and pick one bad habit to focus on. Start using the steps to increase and maintain more positivity in your life moving forward.

          More Resources About Changing Habits

          Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

          Reference

          More by this author

          Leon Ho

          Founder & CEO of Lifehack

          The Importance of Time Management: 8 Ways It Matters The Lifehack Show Episode 5: Taking Learning to the Next Level The Lifehack Show Episode 4: Succeeding at Business as a Woman Entrepreneur The Lifehack Show Episode 3: Why Validation is Key to Lasting Relationships The Lifehack Show Episode 2: Making the Most of the Limited Time We Have

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          Last Updated on August 20, 2019

          26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

          26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

          If you pay attention to your everyday life careful enough, you’ll know that you can learn from everything and everyone you come across. Our life is basically full of useful lessons that we should learn.

          Here are 26 useful things to learn that Abhishek A. Singh shared on Quora. Let’s see how these life theories would lead you to live a different life.

          1. Primacy and recency: People mostly remember the first and last things that occurred, barely the middle.

          When scheduling an interview, ask the employer the time slots they do interviews and try to be the first or the last.

          2. If you work in a bar or in customer service of any kind, put a mirror behind you at the counter.

          In this way, angry customers who approach you will have to see themselves in the mirror behind you and the chance of them behaving irrationally will be lowered significantly.

          3. Once you make a sales pitch, don’t say anything else.

          This works in sales, but it can also be applied in other ways.

          My previous boss was training me and just gave me pointers. I was working at a gym trying to sell memberships. He told me that once I got all the small talk out of the way and presented the prices, the first person to talk would lose.

          It didn’t seem like a big deal but it actually worked. Often there were long periods of awkward silence as the person tried to come up with some excuses, but usually they bought.

          4. If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer, just wait.

          If you stay silent and keep eye contact, they will usually continue to talk.

          5. Chew gum when you’re approaching a situation that would make you nervous, like public speaking or bungee jumping.

          When we eat, our brain tell ourselves, “I would not be eating if I were danger. So I’m not in danger.” This has helped me to stay calm.

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          6. People will always remember how you made them feel, not what you said.

          Also, most people like talking about themselves; so ask lots of questions about them.

          7. When you’re learning something new, teach it to a friend. Let them ask you questions about it.

          If you’re able to teach something well, you will be sure that you’ve understood it very well.

          8. If you get yourself to be really happy and excited to see other people, they will react the same to you.

          It doesn’t always happen the first time, but it will definitely happen the next time.

          9. The physical effects of stress — breathing rate and heart rate — are almost identical to the physical effects of courage.

          When you’re feeling stressed in any situations, immediately reframe it : Your body is getting ready to be courageous, you are NOT stressed.

          10. Pay attention to people’s feet.

          If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, they don’t want you to join in the conversation.

          Similarly, if you are in a conversation with a coworker who you think is paying attention to you and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing in another direction, they want the conversation to end.

          11. Confidence is more important than knowledge.

          Don’t be intimidated by anyone, everyone is playing a role and wearing a mask.

          12. If you pretend to be something for long enough, you will eventually become it.

          Fake it till you make it. Period.

          13. Not to be creepy, but if you want to stare at someone unashamedly, look directly past them and wait for them to try and meet your eyes.

          When they fail to do that, they’ll look around (usually nervously for a second) they won’t look at you again for some time. This is your chance to straight up stare at this person for at least 45 seconds.

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          And as suggested by Brian Stutzman:

          If you’re staring at someone and get caught, DON’T turn your head or your body to look away, because that just confirms that you were staring.

          Just move your EYEBALLS off the person. Unlike turning your head, it’s instantaneous. And the person will think you were just looking at something behind them and that they were mistaken for thinking you were staring. Do it confidently, and ignore any reaction from the person, and you can sell it every single time.

          After a second, you can even look back at them with a “Why are you staring at me?” look on your face to really cement the deal!

          14. Build a network.

          Become the information source, and let the information be yours. Even grabbing a beer with a former colleague once a year will keep you in the loop at the old office.

          Former coworkers might have gotten a new position in that office you always wanted to work in, great! Go to them for a beer, and ask about the office. It’s all about connections and information.

          15. If you are angry at the person in front of you driving like a grandmother…

          Pretend it is your grandmother, it will significantly reduce your road rage.

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            16. Stand up straight.

            No slouching, hands out of pockets, and head held up high. It’s not just a cliche — you literally feel better and people around you feel more confident in you.

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            17. Avoid saying “I think,” and “I believe” unless absolutely necessary.

            These are phrases that do not evoke confidence, and will literally do you no good.

            18. When feeling anxious, clean up your home or work space.

            You will feel happier and more accomplished than before.

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              19. Always buy the first pitcher or round of drinks.

              You’d be surprised how long you could drink on the phrase “I bought the first one.”

              20. Going into an interview… be interested in your interviewers.

              If you focus on learning about them, you’ll seem to be more interesting and dynamic. (Again, people love to talk about themselves.)

              21. Pay attention parents! Always give your kid a choice that makes them think they are in control.

              For instance, when I want my son to put his shoes on I will say ,”do you want to put your star wars shoes on or your shark shoes on?”

              Pro-tip: In some cases, this works on adults.

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                22. Your action affects your attitude more than your attitude affects your action.

                As my former teacher said “You can jump and dance FOR joy, but you can also jump and dance yourself joyful.”

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                23. When a group of people laugh, people will instinctively look at the person they feel closest to in that group.

                Notice who you look at and who look at you when you laugh with a group of people!

                24. If you want to build rapport or gain someone’s trust quickly, match their body posture and position.

                If someone is sitting with her legs crossed, cross your legs. If they’re leaning away from you, lean away from them. If they’re leaning towards you, lean towards them.

                Mirroring and matching body position is a subconscious way to tell if someone trusts you or is comfortable with you. If you’re sitting with your arms crossed and you notice someone else is sitting with her arms crossed, that is a good indicator that you have/are successfully built/building rapport with that person.

                25. The Benjamin Franklin Effect (suggested by Matt Miller)

                I find the basis of the Benjamin Franklin effect is very useful and extends far beyond pencil borrowing. This knowledge is useful in the world of flirting too.

                Asking a girl in your class if you can borrow a pencil or her notes or to explain the homework will make her more likely to like you than if you let her borrow your stuff or are the one to help her. Even just asking a girl to buy you drinks (facetiously) leaves a much bigger impression than offering to or actually buying a girl a drink.

                The best part is it kills 3 birds with one stone: you get the advantages of the favor itself, the person subconsciously likes you more, and it makes them more open to future favors and conversation.

                26. Handle panic and anxiety behaviors by tapping fingers (Suggested by Jade Barbee)

                When you’re feeling stressed, worried or angry, tap each finger tip while thinking (or speaking quietly) a few specific words about what is bothering you. Repeat the same words while tapping each of your 10 fingers, including thumbs.

                For example, tap while saying, “I’m so angry with her…” Doing so will likely take the charge out of the feeling and return you to a more resourceful (better feeling) state of being. It’s called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or “tapping,” and it is useful in many life situations – emotional sadness, physical pain, food cravings, traumatic memories…

                Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com

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