We all have a list of bad habits that is longer than we would like, and honestly, if you say you don’t I not only don’t believe you but I think you might need to check your pride.
I currently have a daily check list on my phone of habits- it has good daily habits that I’d like to pick up and a series of bad habits to cross off when I don’t do them. It’s been the only system I’ve found that helps, though of course it isn’t a magic solution and I still fall short of checking all my boxes a lot of time.
There are arguments about how many habits you should try to pick up and drop at the same time, and this post isn’t really about that. I don’t have an answer to how much you can personally take on at a time, I think a lot of it has to do with how linked your habits are. What this post is about is doing one bad habit can lead to a day of all your bad habits coming out.
I think a lot of us have an all or nothing mindset, in some ways that might be a good thing, if you’re checking off good habits to do today it certainly is! But it also applies to your bad habits, and once we’ve fallen short we tend to think the day is lost and spiral.
I’ve found for myself that it doesn’t matter if these bad habits are related or not. If I mess up on one of my big ones I mess up on all of my big ones. Sometimes I can keep my small ones, because they require less willpower, but for the big ones I need all my willpower or I go bust.
It’s an interesting thing to track because you start to see the themes, you start to see which bad habits are slippery slope habits. It makes you realize if you want to succeed at cutting out bad habits you need to focus on these main two or three habits.
It also allows you to see which ones you can let slide every now and then without causing too much damage to your progress. For example I have a few habits related to health and diet, one of them is only allowing myself a certain amount of diet coke a week (it’s my weakness like coffee is to some). I know it’s bad for me and I want to cut down on it, but if I have the urge to binge eat I can often curb it with having a can of diet coke. Binge eating is one of my slippery slope habits that causes all my habits to go down hill (even non-health habits) so it’s much better for me to just have the can of diet coke. That can doesn’t cause my downfall, even though I’m striving to get all my bad habits gone, it is sometimes best to pick which ones you give in to.