Have Too Many Bad Habits? Here Are 6 Ways to Create Good Ones

Updated on June 18, 2020

It’s said that we become our habits. In some cases that is not a good thing; bad habits prevail among many Americans. One report found that over 70 percent of US adults have at least one unhealthy behavior associated with chronic health problems.

Breaking bad habits isn’t easy, but sometimes the best answer is replacing them with empowering new habits that bring positive changes to one’s daily life.

We often have habits that hold us back, like smoking or eating food lacking in nutrition. Bad habits can have a negative impact on the relationships in your life as well. A great way to start every day is with a series of empowering habits. Morning, in fact, according to some researchers, is the best time to start making these kinds of changes in your life.

Here are six ways you can create new, empowering habits and make them stick:

Prioritize habits. For each area in which you want to grow, take some time to think about what kind of empowering habits you’d like to establish around that topic. Areas to consider are health, wealth, social life, job, hobbies, self-esteem, interpersonal skills, positive thinking, time management, and life purpose. Relationships are also an area to think about. If you ever have issues in your relationships, including those with your family, you can turn to online counseling such as ReGain to help. 

Focus on one at a time. Because we have a limited amount of willpower in the morning, it’s very important how we use that energy. By focusing on just one habit you would like to change – for example, eating a healthy breakfast – you can concentrate that willpower on the task at hand until it becomes a habit.

Be reasonable with yourself. The time it will take to establish the new habit depends upon how much resistance a person has. And sometimes developing a new habit represents a long leap from where one currently stands. That can seem daunting, so break it down into more achievable steps. Incremental improvements add up to a big transformation and are often more powerful and sustainable.

Commit specific time toward the goal.  Nail down a detailed timeline and commit a full effort toward formation of the new habit within that time span. Write down what you hope to achieve, how many times a week you will practice the new habit, and when and where you’ll do it. Having a specific goal helps keep you accountable to yourself.

Reward success. Have a reward in place to celebrate performing your new habit. It has to be something that will motivate you to complete your habit.

Stack habits. The neural pathways of your pre-existing habits are well-travelled routes in your brain. You can take advantage of this by building a new habit and associating it with an old one that is well-established. This is a quicker way to create new habits than if you were to start from scratch. For example, if you want to create a new habit of exercising in the morning, and you have a habit of reading the newspaper every morning, tie these activities together by exercising immediately before you read the paper. Reading the paper becomes your reward.


Senior Outlook Today is your go-to source for information, inspiration, and connection as you navigate the later years of life. Our team of experts and writers is dedicated to providing relevant and engaging content for seniors, covering topics such as health and wellness, finances, technology and travel.