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Last Updated on March 20, 2018

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 down 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 you can use it to improve your own life too.

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 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.

      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.

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      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.

      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.

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        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.

          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.

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          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.

          Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

          Reference

          More by this author

          Leon Ho

          Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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          Last Updated on August 16, 2018

          7 Surefire Ways to Become a Successful Writer

          7 Surefire Ways to Become a Successful Writer

          Whether you’re a blogger, a book author, an editor or an aspiring writer, you’d want your writings to be understood and recognized. It’s not really about the recognition but how much your writing can deliver your intended message and how it really can influence other people.

          In this article you’ll discover 7 unquestionable ways on how to become a successful writer. These are the ones that get the best results, so don’t take them lightly.

          1. Be willing to evolve

          You’re not a model just because a friend took some photos of you on the beach that one time. And you’re not a writer just because you published an eBook, a few articles, or some blog fodder. The flat-out truth is that getting from A to Z in terms of professional writing includes a lot of hard work and personal transformation.

          Every book you write is like a journey, whether fiction or not.

          Every writing assignment, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, is an opportunity to learn something new.

          Every brainstorming session and every headache endured adds to your overall wordsmithing quality.

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          2. Define successful in your own terms

          How do you define a successful writer?

          For some people, it means being able to write coherent sentences to get a point across, or perhaps sell a product. For others, it means being able to pay the rent and survive on writing skills alone.

          You cannot be successful at anything you do not define. There are many different kinds of writers and many shades of success. Come to terms with what it means to you, and be as specific as a detective novel writer:

          • Money – If being successful involves getting paid for your writing, then define how much. Is successful making $30,000 a year or $100,000? Selling 300 copies or 3 million? The only limits are those you impose on yourself.
          • Recognition – We all crave recognition throughout our lives. If writing is something you want to become known for, then study the writing of those who have already earned their place in history.
          • Community – If you measure success by the amount of lives your writing touches, then define that as well. How many fans? How many likes on the fan page? How many “readers” will it take to reach your version of success?

          3. Write until your imagination bleeds

          Basically, in order to be a successful writer, you’re going to have to settle into the idea that a rather hefty word count is required.

          How many words do you think most aspiring writers pump out before they reach success?

          If writing itself is laborious to you, something you must force or strong-arm yourself through, you may want to choose something else. How often does a successful swimmer swim, or drummer drum?

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          4. When you’re not writing, read successful writers

          Writing is the yin and reading is the yang. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. You get the idea.

          You can’t have one without the other. And in order to have balance, both must be equally present.

          For every sentence that you write, you should be reading one. Continuously expose your mind to the writing that you consider to be worthy of success. Find “successful” writers to follow and model in your niche. Speaking of which…

          5. Personalized replication

          You’ve got to have a writing model. It’s as important as defining success.

          Regardless of your niche or writing style, pick a master from within that category and attempt to recreate one single page of their best work.

          If you’re into blogging, go find one of the best blogs of all-time and then re-purpose it. Go buy a big circulation print magazine and re-purpose the articles in your own way and words.

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          Every success coach worth their salt will tell you that you can study and then replicate what the masters are doing. Just make sure that when you do, you personalize it so that it’s original content.

          6. Have a second or third pair of eyes

          Every successful writer out there has a proofreader or editor in their lives. It’s important because writers write. Proofreaders proof. Editors edit. That’s how it goes.

          We may be great when it comes to proofreading other people’s writing, but not our own.

          Writers can bring a piece only so far and then it should be handed off to another pair of eyes that can see it from an outside perspective.

          7. Establish an online presence

          These days, being a successful writer involves an online presence in one way or another. No matter what kind of writer you are, set up a website and publish content for the online realm to consume.

          If making money as a writer is important, then be sure to set up a “freelance writer” profile. There are countless people online willing to pay you to do the research and typing for them.

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          Furthermore, building communities of readers in the online world is incredibly wise.

          Summing it up

          So, let’s recap the 7 ways to be a successful writer:

          1. Realize that you must evolve into success. This provides powerful insight.
          2. Clearly define your version of success so you can claim it.
          3. Write more than unsuccessful writers do.
          4. Balance your writing life with your reading life for optimum results.
          5. Replicate the masters and personalize it.
          6. Make friends with a proofreader or editor.
          7. Set up a website or freelance contractor profile online.

          Of course, you will experience some challenges on the road to success, but they are just a stepping stone to your writing success!

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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