How to quit bad habits?

I learned bike riding so I can easily commute from home to college and from college to home. I remember, at starting I had to be very careful about everything while riding, Like how to use the clutch, how much to brake, and when to change gears. All this while on the road and paying attention to the other vehicles.

But after traveling to college daily by bike, I reached that point where I didn’t even need to pay attention to choosing the right path, and when I needed to move right and left. Sometimes I don’t even remember how I got home from college! Because all the way my attention was on thinking about something important.

This was very wrong, but this happened because riding a bike on the same road from college to home had become my strong habit. When we start learning something new or doing something for the first time, our mind has to think consciously and put effort. As we keep repeating that work, our mind builds a pattern of that activity and stores it. After that, we don’t need to think much to do that work because that is now done by our subconscious mind, which is now our habit.

For example, Reaching home without paying attention to the road, thinking about something. Or, directly going to the bathroom in the morning and start brushing. Our brain builds these habits to free its grey matter from this repeating work and can be used for any other important work or something new.

Habits save our brain’s energy because our brain does not want to put effort into repeated work. These all are good things about habit, but the bad thing is that our brain can not discriminate between bad and good habits. It just has to build habits and save efforts, and this thing creates problems for us, because humans mostly do bad things over and over, and those turn into their bad habits.

Our habits can be a big reason for our success and failure. That’s why we have to eliminate those bad habits and form new and good habits.

How Habits are Formed?

If you want to eliminate your bad habits and form new good habits, then first of all, you must know how habits are formed.

All habits are formed in three steps, In which the first step is “trigger”, the second step is “routine”, and the third step is “reward”.

Step 1: Trigger

Trigger is something that encourages you to do good or bad things.

because of which you feel like doing the good or bad thing is worth something good.

For example, John starts smoking cigarettes when one of his friends Kenny encourages him to smoke. Since Kenny is very important to John, he starts smoking cigarettes thinking that “it’s just a time pass or I can quit smoking whenever I want”.

At the start, Kenny asks him to join in smoking with him, but gradually he starts asking Kenny to join him in smoking. In this case, Kenny has become Jon’s Trigger. Because John thought of smoking whenever he saw Kenny.

There are basically 5 types of triggers.

First, any specific place or location that triggers you to do good or bad things. Second, any specific time. Third, any emotion like sadness, happiness, or getting bored. Fourth, because of others, like meeting a friend or after watching something on TV. Fifth, just after any action like just after eating food, after taking a bath, or after finishing an assignment.

Step 2: Routine

After getting the trigger people move to the second step called Routine. Routine can be both small or big. For example, after meeting a friend going to a shop and buying cigarettes from there, and then lighting the cigarette at a particular place. These all actions come in routine.

Step 3: Reward

And the last step is reward. Rewards are the main step from which habits are actually formed. For example, when someone takes the first puff of a cigarette, they feel a kick or dose of nicotine, which makes them feel relaxed.

Like this, all good and bad habits are formed in these 3 phases, and the more this cycle is repeated, the stronger the habit will become. Whether it is smoking cigarettes, eating more, sleeping less, or any good or bad work.

How to Get Rid of Any Bad Habits?

Now arises the main question, how to get rid of these habits?

It is very difficult to get rid of any habit because the pattern of most habits is deeply stored in our mind which becomes so strong that we cannot get rid of it completely even if we want to.

That’s why you might have seen people keep control on their bad habits for many days, but after getting a strong trigger they start doing their old habits.

That’s why Getting rid of the old habit is not the best way. Instead of it, replace that bad habit with good habits.

For example, there was one man who had a habit of eating donuts daily. Because of eating high-calorie donuts, his weight was increasing, and he became very unhealthy. Then he decided to get rid of this habit. For this, he was looking for some suggestions from one of his friends. And his friend recommended him a book, “Power of Habit”. After studying the book, he understood the principles of that book, and he started trying to apply those principles in his life.

Step 1: Identifying the Trigger

He observed that he craved donuts every day between 3 to 3:30 PM, and this particular time was the trigger of his habit.

Step 2: Understanding the Routing

After that, it does not take long to understand the routine. The routine was simple, he got bored every day during this period, then he would take the elevator to the canteen, where he used to buy a donut and chat with his colleagues while eating it. The taste and the fun of eating donuts was a reward for him.

Step 3: Replacing the Reward

After understanding this process he started applying the second and final step of the principle.

The next day, at the same time, he got bored and took the elevator to the canteen, but instead of buying donuts, he bought a chocolate and chatted with his colleagues while eating the chocolate, and went back to his work.

The next day again he went to the canteen at the same time but didn’t purchase anything and came back after talking to his friends.

He followed this new process for many days, and gradually he used to it.

While doing this he didn’t fight with his trigger, instead, he replaced his routine and reward with some other routine and reward.

Because of this, he was able to get rid of his bad habit.


Like him, by following these 2 steps you can get rid of any habit. The first step is to find out the trigger, understand the routine, and identify the reward. And in step 2 replace your routine and reward with some other routine and reward. This might be a little bit difficult but this is the simplest and best way to change any habit.

At last, I highly recommend the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. Read this book and apply its principles in your life.

Wanna read about the full communication series? Click here>>>>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *