We all have habits and tendencies that can get in our way of leading a healthy, balanced life. These negative habits can range from chronic procrastination to unhealthy eating patterns.
It’s important to identify what these negative habits are and take steps to eliminate them. When we persistently practice unhealthy behaviors, they eventually become deeply ingrained.
The good news is, even those deep-rooted bad habits can be reversed. The key is to replace negative habits with positive ones.
Let’s look at some common negative habits everyone should nip in the bud for a more fulfilling life.
How Negative Habits Affect Us
When I owned my martial arts schools, I could nearly always tell which students would succeed. These students were the ones that made a habit of coming to class and practicing their basics regularly. Then they would stay after class, ask questions, and practice a little more before going home.
How about the ones that weren’t so successful?
Those students didn’t ever take the time to develop the habits successful students did. This was probably because they had already adopted some of the negative habits we’re going to talk about today.
Habits are the biggest cause of your success or can lead to your lack of success. This is because the wrong ones can lead you down a path to failure.
The problem is few people recognize their importance or understand that some common negative habits can be extremely damaging to a person’s success and health.
This is why I’m sharing this with you today.
Once you understand how damaging some of these common negative habits really are, I believe you’ll be more motivated to make some positive shifts to your behavior. I also included some information that can help you begin changing your habits immediately.
Negative Habits to Eliminate:
Now, let’s look 7 Negative habits you’ll want to get rid of.
1.Focusing on the negative.
You’ll want to get rid of this negative habit right away because focusing on the negative leads to negative thinking. Negative thinking leads to a distorted view of the world. This world view makes life much more challenging.
Another problem with a negative focus is it often leads to incorrect actions. These incorrect actions lead to a difficult life.
Make a point of reading books that lift you up or watching videos that inspire you. This will help you change your focus from a negative to a positive one.
2. Putting things off
Many people put off things until the very last minute. This can cause a lot of challenges.
First, there’s the risk of being late with a task.
Second, you may end up not doing your best work or even adequate work.
Finally, you may find you don’t have everything you need to complete what you started out (late) to do.
Whether it is working on a project or practicing for a martial arts test, you need to give yourself time to deal with unseen obstacles. Waiting too long to get started requires that everything go perfectly. Life simply isn’t like that.
Make a commitment to get rid of this negative habit immediately.
3. Not getting enough sleep.
Not getting enough sleep can be the root cause of a whole host of problems. According to the CDC, most adults need 7 to 8 hours of good-quality sleep every 24 hours. A lack of sleep can contribute to decreased motor functioning, decreased memory, poor decision making, greater risk for heart attacks, and decreased longevity.
Not sleeping enough is a negative habit you need to get rid of.
4. Hanging around negative people (a really negative habit).
Yes, there are going to be times when you have to be around negative people. But when you can choose, decide to ditch the negative people because they can hurt you a lot more than you think.
Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” in other words you become who you spend time with. Instead of negative people, spend time with people that you want to be more like.
- Racking up debt.
Using credit cards to purchase consumer items is common, but for most people it’s probably not the best choice. This is because most people don’t pay off their credit cards at the end of each month.
Racking up debt is a negative habit that can be detrimental to your financial health. It also adds to your stress.
Too much financial stress is bad for your mind and body.
Unless you pay off your credit cards at the end of every month, a better habit is to save up and pay cash for the things you really want.
6. Eating just to eat.
You should only eat when you’re hungry. If you’re not hungry, you don’t need to eat.
Learn to listen to your body to tell you when you need to eat.
According to the NIH, approximately 69% of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese There are 78 million adult Americans that are considered obese.
This is one of the greatest threats to your health.
Eating when you’re not hungry greatly increases the odds of becoming severely overweight. It’s a bad habit you’ll want to avoid or get rid of right away.
- Forgetting to floss.
I once heard Zig Ziglar tell a story about a dentist who, when asked if a person needs to floss their teeth, answered by saying, “Only the ones you want to keep.”
I love that story.
You already know that forgetting to floss is bad for your teeth. Studies have found that there are certain bacteria implicated in different forms of heart disease.
Most of these bacteria are found primarily in the mouth. This is one of the biggest reasons why it’s so important to take care of your teeth. It’s because the cavities that result from not flossing provide an opportunity for these bacteria to make their way into the bloodstream.
Get rid of the negative habit of forgetting to floss.
Take a couple of minutes every day to floss your teeth.
Using the Fogg Behavioral Model to Create the Habits you want.
B.J Fogg is a professor of behavioral science at Sandford University and is the author of the book “Tiny Habits”. His book introduces what he calls the Fogg Behavioral Model.
Here’s what his model looks like (I pulled this image from Google images):
Here’s how it works:
According to Professor Fogg, behavior happens the moment three things come together. These are:
As you can see in the Google image, this is 2D model has a vertical axis which represents the Motivation for a behavior and a horizontal axis that represents Ability to do the behavior.
Motivation for a behavior range from high at the top of the vertical axis to low at the bottom.
Ability to do a behavior starts at easy to do at the right side of the horizontal axis and finishes at hard to do on the left.
The Action Line represents the likelihood that someone will perform behavior when given a Prompt.
If the Prompt is above the Action Line, the person will probably perform the behavior.
If it is below the Action Line, the probability that someone would do this behavior is very slim.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you want someone to loan you a dollar and they are a close friend, and they have adequate income. You meet them in person and ask them for a dollar.
Because they are your friend, this person would have high Motivation and be at the top of the vertical axis.
Since they have adequate income and you’re only asking for a dollar, the Action is easy for them to do.
In this case this prompt would be above the Action Line and the person will probably loan you the dollar.
In the next example, let’s say you are a college student, and you ask another college student that you barely know to loan you one hundred dollars.
Let’s assume that the student you’re asking to loan you the money doesn’t have any extra income and they are barely scraping by. Additionally, let’s say you ask them to give you a check so you can keep track of the loan.
In this example, the student isn’t very motivated because he or she barely knows you. On top of this, it is very hard to do because they don’t have a lot of extra funds AND you want them to write you a check when in all likelihood this student barely knows what a check is!
Since this person has low Motivation and it is hard to do (low Ability), your prompt to loan you $100 would put them in the lower left-hand corner below the Action Line.
So, what does this mean for us? This means to increase the likelihood that a behavior will happen we either need to increase the Motivation or make the Ability to do the behavior easier, or both.
A behavior will only occur when a person has the correct amount of Motivation and Ability that is accompanied with the right Prompt at the same moment in time. If any of the elements is missing, the behavior will not occur.
Professor Fogg tells us that this model applies to all types of human behavior.
How can you put this model to work for you? The easiest way is using Professor Fogg’s ABC model to create positive habits or eliminate negative habits.
Professor Fogg tells us there are three elements to creating a habit. Let’s use the example of getting into the habit of flossing your teeth (which is the one Professor Fogg uses in his book).
The first is an Anchor. This is an existing routine or an event that happens. The Anchor reminds you to do the new behavior.
The second is Behavior. This is a simple version of the new habit you want to create. In this case, flossing your teeth.
The third and final is to Celebrate your success. This is something you do to create positive emotions. The key is to celebrate right after doing the new behavior.
To create the behavior, write a statement that says After I (Anchor) I will (new Behavior).
Here’s an example.
Anchor: This could be, “Right after I brush my teeth (Anchor),”
Behavior – “I will floss one tooth (Behavior).”
Celebration – You can do whatever you choose to do to celebrate your success. One of my favorites is stand up and punch my fist in the air and say, “Great job (your name here), you are awesome!”
Notice, this does not require a lot of Motivation and Ability is easy to do, so the Prompt should be above the action line of the behavioral model.
If you’re trying to get into the flossing habit, try doing this for the rest of this week. Of course, you can use this process to develop any habitual behavior you want.
Note: What you’re doing here is getting rid of the negative habit of not flossing and replacing it with the positive one of flossing.
Use Habits to Create the Life You Want!
“Success is nothing more than a few disciplines, practiced every day. Failure is nothing more than a few errors, repeated every day.” – Jim Rohn
Having a negative habit is similar to loading rocks in your backpack while climbing up a hill. It will weigh you down and limit your success.
This is why the things you do repeatedly matter. What you focus on, the amount of sleep you get, procrastinating, these all matter.
Everything matters when you do them day after day over a long period of time. So, work on eliminating these negative habits and developing more positive ones.
It will change your life!