5 Reasons it is Very Hard to Break Bad Habits
Breaking bad habits is hard, even though we know we should. It seems that even though we understand we must
change negative behaviors, sometimes this is very difficult to do. Why is that? Wouldn't it make sense that we
would be inclined to do what is healthy for us? There are many reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, and 5
of the most common are listed here.
1 – We Don't Give the Process Enough Time
Maxwell Maltz found in the 1950s that habits took approximately 21 days to establish. This means changing
previous behaviors, and breaking old habits. Research in 2009 found that modern men and women require approximately
66 days to establish a routine or behavior. Part of the failure in breaking bad habits is not allowing enough
consistent, day-to-day effort for a long enough period of time.
2 – We Don't Treat the Underlying Cause of the Behavior
An alcoholic or drug addict may understand their behavior is hurting them. Even so, dependencies can be
incredibly difficult, in some cases seemingly impossible, to overcome. This is because sometimes underlying
emotional causes lead to bad habits. Identifying and treating our responses to emotional scars can help lead to
more success in defeating bad habits.
3 – We Don't Avoid Harmful Triggers
Some bad behaviors are triggered by outside stimuli. When we are in a certain environment, physical, mental or
spiritual, these negative behaviors come out to play. If a cigarette smoker spends a lot of time around others who
smoke, it's going to be difficult to stick to a non-smoking routine.
4 – Your "Why" Isn't Big Enough
Sometimes failure comes from a lack of motivation. You may say you want to break a bad habit, but your reasons
for doing so simply aren't big enough. Establish a "big why" for you are doing, a reason that is so important and
significant that your motivation for new change can't be overcome.
5 – Fulfill Your Negative Need
You may have heard that people attempting to give up smoking often put on weight. That is because the physical
action of smoking is replaced by the action of eating. Instead of sticking cigarettes into the mouth, food is the
substitute. Every bad habit needs to be replaced with a positive one. If you spend hours each day on social media,
that need for socialization has to be replaced by a healthy alternative.