How to get rid of poor habits? How to get rid of poor habits?
Published on

How to get rid of poor habits?

Written by :
Aashish Dhawan

Getting rid of an old habit is sometimes as hard as creating and sustaining a new one. Although this is not impossible to do, it definitely takes a deliberate effort and an action plan.

We are going to introduce the H.I.D.E. Framework to kill an old, harmful habit. The framework states that we need to

  1. Make it hard.
  2. Make it invisible.
  3. Make it dissatisfying.
  4. Make it embarrassing.

As usual, we are going to test this framework on breaking some old habits, and if this framework can help with those habits, it can help with others as well. So the habits we are trying to get rid of for this experiment are

  1. Spending too much time on the phone or social media
  2. Smoking

You can also try any other habits of yours and see if this framework helps you remove them from your lifestyle. You can also adjust this framework according to your own personality and lifestyle.

H: Make it Hard

When you have decided that you want to remove a bad habit from your life, please be aware that this is not going to happen overnight. If you have been waking up at 9:00 am in the morning for the last 5 years, you are not going to wake up at 5:00 am tomorrow and go to the gym while you also want to spend 30 minutes reading in the morning. Therefore, it is futile to expect that you will kill poor habits tomorrow. This has to be done in gradual steps, with each step making it a little harder to follow your bad habits.

For example, every time you leave a social media website, log out so that you have to enter a password again next time. Do not buy a pack of cigarettes; just buy them as you need them. By doing so, we are just increasing the difficulty of following our habit.

The other way of killing a bad habit is to deprive it by not giving it enough time, and this has to be done by replacing our habits with other, better ones. For example, instead of following new TV series on Netflix, join a new course to develop new skills. Replace smoking with chewing gum if you can. Although we need to be careful that we are replacing old habits with better ones and not picking up another poor habit for replacement,.

Make it invisible.

The second principle in our framework is to make it invisible. This generally means changing the environment around us. Maybe we are glued to our phone screens always because the phone remains with us throughout the day. If we are using the phone too much before bed, try putting it away in a different room. Move the TV out of your bedroom or sleep in a room that does not have a TV installed. Do not carry a pack of cigarettes in your pocket throughout the day; do not keep it on your work desk or in your drawer. The goal here is to keep poor habits invisible by changing our environment.

The other method to keep poor habits away from you is to manage the triggers well. Every habit, good or bad, has some triggers associated with it that push us towards it. For example, if you are feeling tired or stressed, you might want to go out to smoke, which provides you with some kind of relief from your situation. Maybe you have some colleagues who take a regular smoking break after lunch, and when you join them, you feel a social obligation to smoke as well. Maybe we are addicted to our phones because we want to see how people are responding to our posts or our photos.

Our goal is to identify these triggers and minimise them, which can be done in different ways. For example, we could reduce posting content on social media and hence reduce the need for us to check responses multiple times a day. When we feel stressed, maybe instead of going for smoking, we can manage our stress better through other means like music, walking in the park, etc.

D: Make it dissatisfying.

The third principle in our framework is to make poor habits dissatisfying. This can be done when we really understand the consequences of poor habits and how they affect us over time or how they keep us from achieving our goals. Almost everyone knows that smoking can cause cancer, but they still do it. Does this mean they do not understand the consequences? Of course they do, but they fail to understand the seriousness of it. They think they are special, and this is not going to affect them. What if they were to visit a cancer hospital and experience the plight of patients affected by it? Only then people will understand the consequences. Probably we all have heard of a phenomenon when a lot of people became vegetarians after watching documentaries about animal slaughter and how they were raised to be butchered in the end. They were appalled by experience, and this is when they truly understood the real consequences of their actions. We need that too.

E: Make it embarrassing.

Aren’t we supposed to feel a little embarrassed when we break our promises? And yet, we break promises made to ourselves on a daily basis and get going like nothing happened. We discussed in Chapter “How to Start a New Good Habit?” that we need to hold ourselves accountable. We need to have an accountability partner who reminds us of our broken promises. We can keep track of our monthly tracker to see whether we are sticking to our goals on a daily basis or not. We also have social accountability for our friends.

How about we give ourselves a little punishment when we break a promise made to ourselves? If you break a promise of not spending too much time on social media, what would it cost you? Would you recover this lost time from the activities that you love doing? Maybe we can, and this little punishment can nudge us towards good habits again.

We would love to work with you

If you are looking for a technology partner, rather than just another outsourcing agency; have a chat with one of our co-founders, Bharat or Aashish. Let's talk about how we can support your business' software requirements.