I have created a Habit Streak Template for Notion: Get the template -25% off on Gumroad by clicking on this link. In the following post, I will explain to you, how to get rid of bad habits, and how my Notion template can help you in the process.
What are habits?
“Habits are mental shortcuts learned from experience” – James Clear
In a way, they are, simply, reliable solutions to recurring problems in our environment.
This is true for both: positive habits like checking your pockets for your key before leaving the house, or negative habits like drinking a beer after work. The first one is a mental program that prevents you from locking yourself out, the second is a simple solution to cope with stress at work.
Due to this automation effect, we have to exert less mental effort in everyday life and thus have more leisure to take care of the really important things in our life.
But often it’s not the lack of good habits in our lives that prevents us from becoming the best version of ourselves.
Usually, we sabotage our journey because of our tendency to stick to destructive habits:
- Overconsumption of coffee
- Smoking cigarettes
- Getting high on weed every day
- Binging adult entertainment on the internet
All of those things are probably harmless if done in a restrained manner. However, some people are prone to binging when they start taking certain substances or engaging in certain activities.
And if you have ever tried to get rid of a bad habit, you are definitely aware of how difficult this is.
What causes bad habits?
Breaking bad habits takes time and effort.
Interestingly, most people start trying to break their habits without knowing why they are doing certain things in the first place.
Oftentimes they simply use this habit to better deal with an underlying problem like:
- or pain
You get the point.
Without doing this harmful habit, you would feel even more stressed or more in pain. In many circumstances, you understand the negative consequences of your actions in the future, but you are trading long-time consequences for short time relief.
Therefore, it is actually not an option just to quit and hope for the best. Rather, you better try to substitute your harmful habit with a more positive one.
How to get rid of bad habits?
Because bad habits provide some type of benefit in your life, it’s very difficult to simply eliminate them” – James Clear
- Transmute your energy and find a substitute habit:
In the Nofap community – which helps people who are addicted to porn – there is a lot of talk about transmuting your energy.
Instead of wasting your sexual energy on moving pixels, they recommend finding an activity to put your energy into. Most guys doing Nofap, choose things like meditation, workouts, running, or breathing exercises.
This tip is also helpful for other addictions: If you have strong urges to smoke a cigarette due to the stress caused by your challenging job, try for example to calm yourself with breathing exercises.
In general, I regard building a gym routine as the most powerful substitute habit out there.
It’s simple: When you are building a muscular body, you will quickly realize how negatively it gets affected by booze, nicotine, or junk food. Plus, you are building strength, relieving stress, getting a more aesthetic body, gaining self-confidence, and operating on a higher energy level.
There is no other habit with as many compound benefits as working out.
- Cut out as many triggers as possible.
If you drink, when there is a beer in your fridge, simply throw out the beer.
If you are addicted to sweets, do the same with cookies.
If you are always scrolling through Instagram or Twitter on your phone, deinstall those apps from your phone.
Design your environment for success. Nudge yourself into a better version.
Of course, just avoiding triggers is not enough, but it can make the whole process much easier.
- Get an accountability partner
Lastly, don’t fight your addiction alone.
In the best case, you can find a friend who deals with the same issue. But this also works with somebody, who wants to eliminate something else out of her life, or with somebody who is just a good friend who understands your struggle as well.
I recommend making both of you accountable: If anybody fails, the other partner gets $100.
Often it’s enough to know that another person expects success from you to struggle through urges,
“Breaking bad habits takes time and effort, but mostly it takes perseverance. Most people who end up breaking bad habits try and fail multiple times before they make it work. You might not have success right away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have it at all.” – James Clear
How long does it take us to build or unlearn habits?
It is often said that we have to do things for 21 days before they become a habit. Conversely, it takes us a similar amount of time to replace our existing negative habits with new positive ones.
But this is a myth that stems from an often misquoted study by Dr. Maxwell Maltz:
Dr. Maltz was a cosmetic surgeon in the 1950s. He found that it took his patients an average of 21 days after rhinoplasty to adjust to their new look. The situation was similar with arm or leg amputations: most patients experienced phantom pain for the first 21 days until they got used to the new situation.
These experiences caused him to reflect on how long it took him to get used to new actions or situations.
He noted that it also took him more or less 21 days to form a new habit and wrote about this finding in his book Psycho-Cybernetics:
This is how the myth was born that we can build new habits in 21 days. In truth, Dr. However, Maltz only says that 21 days is the minimum time we need to build a new self-image and new habits.
Often, you need much longer. This mainly depends on your unique situation in life.
A study by University College London even showed in 2009 that we need an average of 66 days for this.
The length of the period is probably also related to how much we enjoy performing an action, how closely it is linked to our identity, and how much willpower it takes to perform it.
How can my new Notion Habit Streak Template help?
My new Habit Streak Template for Notion helps you to visualize your habit streak inside of your Notion dashboard. This way, it supports you to do or not do a certain action for a certain time period.
Just start tracking a habit, the streak continues until you stop checking a day.
The template also comes with gamification: You can unlock achievements like 30-Days-Streak or 1-Year-Streak.
Thus, it will help you to remove negative habits like
- 🛑 Smoking Weed (No-Weed)
- 🛑 Drinking Alcohol (No-Booze)
- 🛑 Consuming Nicotine (No-Smoke)
- 🛑 Watching Porn (No-Fap)
And to implement positive habits like
- ✅ Journaling
- ✅ Meditating
- ✅ Working out
When creating this template, I aimed for building a single-page template that makes it beginner friendly and easy to set up. Plus, it remains highly customizable, so that you can easily implement it into your unique workspace.