The Ultimate Guide: How to Create Good Habits and Stop Bad Habits

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It was 7 o’clock, I just got home from work.


I found myself shoveling slice after slice into my mouth.


I was upset…see?


Stressed out from work….and as a result stress eating.


I mean pizza has this wonderful way of making me feel good about the world again…plus it’s yummy.


What’s the harm in bingeing every once in a while? I told myself.


There’s NO harm! I thought. As long as I’m mostly healthy!


But the truth is, our habits, good or bad, create our life.


So unhealthy or destructive habits make for an unhealthy or destructive life.


Pizza every day = high cholesterol, and heart complications.


And the truth is…I wasn’t really that healthy…I just sort of believed I was…without any real proof.


I mean I did eat the occasional salad.


Don’t let yourself get caught in this vicious cycle…of making bad choices, justifying them, forgetting about them, and then making bad choices again.


Your life can be exactly what you want it to be. You can be a musician, a painter, a doctor, or a marathon-runner.


To be those things you gotta leave that bad habits behind…they’ll only bring you down. You have to make choices on a daily basis that are good for you and that point you in the direction of what you want.


And I’m gonna show you how!



Table of Contents:

Why Bad Habits Are Bad

Why Bad Habits Are Hard to Break

How to Break Bad Habits & Replace Them With Good Habits



Why Bad Habits are Bad


When we have a bad habit…like watching too much Netflix, we pretty easily justify and forget those habits.


After getting home, tired and stressed from work, you might think something like, “oh I’ll just watch one episode and then clean the kitchen.” But then the automatic play brings up the next episode, and three hours later you never cleaned the kitchen.


So you ignore that slightly uncomfortable feeling of guilt, climb into your pajamas and go to bed.


Then the next morning the kitchen is still dirty, and now you feel slightly stressed at the sight of those dishes that need to be washed.


So you’re stuck in a cycle of feeling bad emotions, avoiding blame, and justifying your actions.


“I was tired after work and really stressed out,”


-Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure og mandino

Then after the TV-binge…you sorta avoid the feeling of, “Oh crap…I shoulda cleaned the kitchen” cause the feeling is uncomfortable.


If left alone, these kinds of cycles become more than just a one-time thing. These cycles become habits. And your daily habits CREATE YOUR LIFE!


Yep. That’s right…the things you do on a daily basis ARE your life. Not the things you want to do next week or next year. Those things aren’t your life…the things you are doing NOW…in your daily life ARE your life.


Are you making healthy choices?


Are you making choices that further you along the career path you truly want?


Are you making choices that make your relationships stronger? Your mind sharper?


You are your habits.


So if you want to change something in your life, you need to look not at the big moments or choices of life but the little ones you make every day.


For related reading check out: FREE PRINTABLES, Start New Habits with Your Personal 4 Week Health Planner



Why Bad Habits are Hard to Break


If bad habits are so bad….why not just break them!?


If only if were that easy.


And I think most people agree that it’s not. Especially after a habit has really taken hold of your life!


Habits are simply repeated actions.


So to figure out why we do certain actions, and then why we repeat them we have to look at the reasons behind our behaviors.


Any behavior can have a number of motivators from social pressure to the survival instinct.


A good example to dissect is smoking. Smoking is terrible for you, it smells awful, it’s expensive, and it doesn’t taste good.


So why do it?


Perhaps it started with social pressures. During the early teenage years we will do almost anything to fit in with the group. And yes smoking is one of those things.


Ok…great…but why CONTINUE to do it?


Well that is probably a physiological response. You repeat the good feeling of fitting in with your friends enough that your body eventually gets addicted to nicotine.


And then the habit has two claws in you…social and physiological.


You might be wondering where I’m going with all this…


Well bad habits are hard to break because they are REWARDS.


That delicious, cheesy pizza after a stressful day at work. That first cigarette in the morning. The coffee and donut that are the only reasons you got out of bed and into the car this morning.


Bad habits are emotional and physiological rewards!


Some emotion, feeling, or circumstance arises, and you feel a sudden, compulsive need to smoke or eat or drink!


So one of the main reasons we do bad habits is to avoid scary emotions…and to fulfill our body’s physical needs which we often don’t know how to manage effectively.


Eventually these bad habits become subconscious and impulsive. Eventually we stop noticing they even happen.



How to Stop Bad Habits & Replace Them with Good Habits


Ahhhhh yes here we go.


The reason you even opened this article to begin with!


I’ll stop rambling and get to the point.


All the doom and gloom I’ve fed you up until here, has a silver lining.


That emotion – reward thing we talked about…there is a way to interrupt that process and use it to your advantage!


1. If bad habits are subconscious or impulsive….make them conscious.


Keep track of the bad habits you do on a daily basis. At the end of the month, you will probably be surprised about how often you actually do the bad things.


Stop conveniently forgetting…and pay close attention to your daily habits!


Get your FREE habit tracker here:

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Get Your FREE Habit Tracker

You've got the motivation, now make it a habit.

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2. Figure out your triggers.


Kinda rhymes right?


I came up with that all by myself! :)


A trigger is some person, place, emotion, or object that reminds you of your bad habit and causes a craving.


For smoking this might be being with your friends, or seeing an actor smoke on TV.


For unhealthy eating this might be stress from work or feeling tired after working long hours.


Discovering your triggers is an important step in fixing your bad habits.


And they are often what causes you to fall off the wagon if you do manage to quit.


Keep track of the situations, people, circumstances, emotions, or physical states that cause you to either have a craving, or to just impulsively do your bad habit.


To keep track of your triggers use the tracker found in the habit tracker free printable(get that below).


Beginning to understand what causes those habits is a HUGE step in the right direction.


Get Your FREE Habit Tracker

You've got the motivation, now make it a habit.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

3. Get Curious About Your Bad Habits (I’m talking about mindfulness here).


If your bad habit is eating binge-eating an entire bag of potato chips for example you have to get really curious about how this habit affects your body.


After you finish off the bag of chips, take a moment and be mindful of how your body feels. Probably pretty greasy and full.


It's probably not a great feeling.


This step in the process is all about becoming interested in how you feel doing your bad habit. Chances are it might feel good in the moment, and pretty crappy after.


Be mindful of the whole process!


No judgement, just experience what it's like to smoke that cigarette, or buy those shoes. Don't skip this step! It's VERY important.


So important in fact, you get a whole page to journal your experience.


Print out more if you need them, they're on page 8.


If you need help practicing mindfulness I suggest the CALM app for your phone or tablet.



4. Replace Bad Habits with Good Habits When a Trigger Arises.


As you begin to keep track of your triggers…and how you’re feeling as you do your bad habits…you can begin to see patterns.


What kinds of big emotions are you feeling when you get cravings?


What kings of physiological symptoms do you have when you get cravings?


Find good habits that fulfill those needs.


Replace your bad habits with the good ones.


Remember that you should only do one habit at a time!


Experiment with different good habits until you find the right one!


BTW I have an awesome mini-ebook that walks you through this process:

good habit bad habit bahit tracker journal


5. Go Easy on Yourself


Remember that to stop a bad habit means that you’ll definitely slip up along the way.


The worst way to react is to give up altogether, or get frustrated with yourself and say, “I just can’t do it” or “I’m just not strong enough.”


You can do it. You are strong enough.


You just need to accept the fact that you will have setbacks.


Another really bad thought is, “well since I already broke my diet…I might as well just give up.”




You didn’t “break” your diet. You had a setback.


So hit the RESET…and get back out there!


The sooner you accept this about the process…the sooner you’ll actually be able to make changes.


This whole life is one experiment after another…try not to take the process personally…and think of it more as a scientist thinks of their experiments.



6. Get Organized


Make a plan to fix your bad habits.


Set deadlines.


Take baby steps.


Make sure you plan ahead for difficult situations.


This whole process requires you to make clear plans, stick to them, keep a lot of notes, and stay super organized.


Oh and also to actually do it :).


Making a plan means that you are setting yourself up for success. It means you are anticipating difficult situations like trying not to break your diet at Christmas.


And making a plan means making slow, but permanent changes.


And that’s what we’re after right?


Turning off the TV at 9 instead of bingeing on your favorite Netflix show…so that you can wake up at 6 to go running.


You want this. And you can have it…you just gotta get organized.


Which you can do by yourself…


Or….you can check out my handy-dandy little ebook. I take you step-by-step through the ENTIRE process.


Thanks for reading this article. Hopefully it helped you, or at least you found it mildly entertaining.


In the comment section below, answer me this:

Have you ever successfully stopped a bad habit? Do you think it’s really possible?


Get Your FREE Habit Tracker

You've got the motivation, now make it a habit.

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Please remember that the advice and opinions given on this website and in correspondence with correlated email addresses such as are anecdotal and unprofessional. I am not a doctor, I am not a therapist, and I am not a healthcare professional. Consult a doctor before doing any of the recommended activities on this blog.

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