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7 Excuses You Make That Make Breaking Bad Habits So Difficult

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7 Excuses You Make That Make Breaking Bad Habits So Difficult

Bad habits can be very difficult to break. However, with enough inner motivation and persistence, you can emerge victorious. The first step to ditching a bad habit is identifying the excuses that make them so difficult to break.

But I tried to quit – it’s just too hard!

Trying to quit a bad habit is admirable. However, long term success is out of reach without patience. Breaking bad habits can take time and focus. It may even require more than one try. Do not give up trying to break a bad habit just because you weren’t successful on your first attempt. Focus on your goal and keep trying until you’ve conquered it.

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But my habit is not hurting anyone else.

This is a common excuse for individuals battling with habits that abuse the body. It is important to realize that bad habits can have a domino effect. Regardless of the excuses you make, if a habit affects you negatively, then it also affects the ones who love you. So be proactive in breaking your habit. Enlist the help of those who care about your well-being. You don’t have to fight your habits alone.

But I have to do this because I can’t help myself.

You can only conquer your bad habits when you make it your aim to take responsibility for your own choices. At some point you’ll need to stop the carriage ride and take the reins. Eliminate “I can’t” from your vocabulary, and refuse to give in to your habits.

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But since I’m still young, I have plenty of time to quit.

If a habit is bad for your health, then it is never too soon to eradicate it. Regardless of your age, you need your body to continue working properly in order to continue living! Youth is not an excuse to procrastinate. Youth is actually the best time to quit a harmful habit. If you stop while you’re still young, you won’t have to risk ruining your body and even shortening your overall life expectancy.

But I don’t even have a bad habit.

Denial is at the root of many bad habits. If you do not acknowledge your bad habit, you will not be able to get rid of it. Accepting the fact that you have a bad habit is the first step in eliminating it. Acknowledge your weakness and then strive to rise above it.

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But it can’t be that bad because my friends still do it.

Do your friends know everything? Certainly not! Your friends do not know the answers to all of life’s questions. You are the expert on yourself, and you do not need someone else to dictate which habit you’ll keep and which habit you’ll break. Make it your determination to stop hiding behind your friends and ditch this excuse. Regardless of your age, birds of a feather flock together. So while your friends may very well be embracing their bad habit, but that does not mean that you must do the same thing.  Do your own research and allow your findings to motivate you to break your bad habit right away.

But my habits aren’t serious.

Downplaying the importance of a habit is a very common excuse. In some cases bad habits can pose a threat on a day to day basis. Research your habit and speak to an expert. If your habit truly is serious, then the truth will come out. Recognize the seriousness of the bad habit, and be determined to eliminate it once and for all.

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Excuses impede progress. Once you learn how to identify your excuses, you will be on your way to eradicating bad habits for good.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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