Hopefully, we’re far enough into the year now to knock that ‘new year, new you’ stuff on the head? How about the same old you – beautiful and brilliant as you are – but cleaner and more focused. How does that sound? Because for so many, us included, it’s our bad habits, those bad old ways we fall back into, which are preventing us from reaching bigger and better things. It shouldn’t have to be this way. Perhaps you have a bad coffee habit or your online shopping at Amazon has gotten out of control? Or maybe you’ve got an addiction to monster munch that you can’t curb? Whatever it is, we’re attacking our vices head on, with these; our 5 steps to giving up bad habits in 2020.

ACCEPT

The first rule of giving up club is; you do talk about giving up. Openly, with acceptance and without fear of judgment. Yep, acknowledging that you’ve got something which is hindering your life, and being honest with yourself and others, is the first step in getting help and sorting things out. As they don’t say, but definitely should, ‘to get clean, you first have to come clean’. Hey, editor, can we copyright that please? Oh, wait…

IDENTIFY & DOCUMENT

Once you’ve faced up to the presence of a bad habit, it’s time to do your best to identify the triggers and patterns which act as a catalyst for those negative behaviours. Prevention is better than cure, as they say, and in rooting out causal aspects, you’ll always be one step ahead of your problems.

Every bad habit has a cue that falls broadly into five categories; location, time, emotional state, other people and immediate preceding action. By keeping a diary of every cigarette you have, for instance, and where you were, who you were with etc., you’ll have a realistic overview of the scale of your issue and what’s prompting it. Most who do this are surprised at the level of the problem. 

Documenting the scale of the negative behaviour can also help to put things in perspective. If you’re aware that you’re drinking too much, for example, then apps can assist in this. ‘Drink Less’ or the NHS’ Drink Free Days, can prompt you to record each drink you have each day, as well as how much you spend doing so. The app then offers an analysis of how problematic your consumption is, how many calories your habit is adding to your diet and so on. You can set goals such as staying within the recommended weekly units limit, and get feedback on your progress. It may sound simple, but this method of facing up to some hard truths can be really effective.

REPLACEMENT

Once you’ve identified your bad habit, the triggers and documented your patterns of use, then it’s a good idea to find something to replace it. Substituting a bad habit with a new one that provides a similar, but healthier, and more productive benefit, will help you wean yourself off it.

So, replace those Friday night beers with a lower ABV version, which are having a real moment right now, and going from strength to strength in terms of flavour and popularity. Jump aboard the bandwagon rather than falling off it!

For some, likelihood of regression or relapse is increased if the giving up is full throttle, immediate and absolute. Indeed, some prefer a more gradual, step-by-step cutting back on consumption. In the case of smoking cessation, many find a switch to vaping useful prior to cutting out the nicotine altogether. Check out best vape reviews online to find an e-liquid which suits your needs. One day at time, slowly but surely, may well work best here.

REWARD

Giving up a bad habit can be one tough task; a rocky road of temptation, relapse and redemption which requires an amazing strength of character every step of the way. So, give yourself a pat on the back from time to time, and reward yourself for getting this far. Without doubt, you’ll be surprised by the amount of money you save by drinking less, kicking the smokes or eating less junk food, for instance. Reward yourself for meeting goals you set; a clean month, perhaps, can be celebrated by buying yourself something nice with the equivalent money saved. A pleasant reminder that you’ve taken back control of your life. 

Cherish, acknowledge and celebrate the positive change. Notice how much better you look in the mirror, how much more clarity you’ve gained, how you’re thinking straight, how you’ve got more energy…and you’ll realise that you want to feel like this for the rest of your life.

READJUSTMENT

Relapses and errors of judgment later down the line are inevitable. It’s how you bounce back that matters. Seek encouragement, both from loved ones and strangers, in conquering your vices. Online, there’s an ever increasing availability of help online, so find solace and support in online forums and communities.Where sometimes those in the grip of addiction may find it uncomfortable to ask for help from friends or family, it can sometimes be easier to seek a stranger’s advice and support, or even sponsorship.

And sure, readjusting to a different way of life can be incredibly difficult when a vice has spent so many years defining you. Indeed, many people find fill the void with mindfulness and meditation, and regular, dedicated exercise. Find healthy, medically recommended ways to let off steam and regain focus, and you’ll find that your old vices really are a thing of the past.