You’ve heard it said a thousand times before: it only takes 21 days to make a habit. But what they didn’t tell you was that this was a myth.

Breaking bad habits is hard enough as it is, so misinformation won’t help anyone get closer to creating new habits. We need a new paradigm. So why not replace bad habits with good habits?

When it can take up to 254 days to establish new habits, we’re going to need every tool we can get. If you’re not sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Join us as we discuss how to break bad habits.

Bad Habits: Breaking the Paradigm
Bad habits aren’t just one aspect of our daily routine. They’re more like ruts in a wagon trail. They form after many long years of doing the same thing, again and again.

We, humans, are a bit like NPCs (non-playable characters) in a video game. We repeat the same routine from sun up until sundown. Then the next day, we do it all over again.

As a result, we don’t really consider our actions. We run on autopilot, and only after a step back do we realize the damage bad habits could be doing to our lives.

The problem is, breaking this paradigm will be difficult. Especially if we stop our bad habits cold turkey and replace them with nothing else.

The only way to change a paradigm is with new habits. But as we’ve established, it can take months of creating new habits before they stick. This burden of trying to change the paradigm is more likely to lead to discouragement than meaningful progress.

There’s a halfway point, though. A way that we can maintain the current paradigm but enact change.

How to Break a Bad Habit
The key to breaking a bad habit isn’t just stopping that bad habit. That “wagon rut” is still there. If we don’t fill the rut with something else, we’ll fall back into it the next time around.

For example, say you want to quit social media. You delete the apps from your phone and then fight the constant desire to check and scroll. But since that rut is still there, you run into another bad habit: an addictive phone game.

The problem with this approach is that there were no positive, new habits to fill that established rut. Quitting cold turkey only left a void that something equally bad filled.

In that same scenario, we could take an entirely different approach. We cut the social media out the same as before, but this time, we replace it with reading an eBook. When that antsy craving drives you to check your phone, you instead put that energy into something positive.

The truth is that we can substitute most bad habits with good habits. It requires no change to our current paradigm and allows us to work with what we already have.

Start Today, Not Tomorrow
New year’s resolutions are a fun way to declare your commitment to change. But everyone knows that we drop them a month or two later. Studies suggest that as many as 80% of people fail their resolutions.

However, the problem isn’t that they failed their goal. The problem is really that they never picked it up again.

It’s easy to put things off until tomorrow. Using the social media example from above, we doomscroll today and promise that next year, we’ll come clean. But that’s the wrong attitude.

Breaking bad habits works best when you start now. Not tomorrow, not next week. That’s only comfortable procrastination telling us to wait for a restart.

They say that there’s no time like the present moment. Creating new habits means embodying that phrase.

By replacing bad habits with good habits, you begin the process of shifting your paradigm back in the right direction.

That antsy feeling you used to get to check your phone? The eBook won’t provide as much stimulation, but it will fill the rut. Then over time, the compulsive feeling will disappear, which in turn will shift your paradigm.

Good Habits and Beyond
Years and years of bad habits can lead to comfortable paradigms that we have a great deal of trouble escaping. These paradigms would normally require months and years before change can occur. However, you can bootstrap a positive change by replacing your bad habits with good ones.

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