Break Bad Habits to Improve Your Relationship This New Year

hand holding pen over notebook New Year’s is a fresh start to break bad habits.

For many of us, a new year means a new beginning. Some might even prepare a New Year’s resolution to welcome the year with hope and positivity.

It’s natural to reflect back on the past year and see what changes we’d like to see as we move forward - one of which is to break bad habits.

We find ourselves asking,

“Are my relationships getting better or worse? Do I need relationship advice?”

“What can I do to help deepen my bond with others?”

We’re reminded that we have this window of opportunity to choose what we want to do for the New Year. Whether it’s the intention to deepen our bond with loved ones, overcome social anxiety, or look for a new relationship, we essentially have the freedom to become a better version of ourselves in every way possible.

But it’s easier said than done, right? Bad habits have a way of ingraining themselves into our lives that make it almost impossible to get rid of.

To quote Edgar Rice Burroughs, “We are, all of us, creatures of habit.”

According to an article in, “If you do something over and over, and dopamine is there when you’re doing it, that strengthens the habit even more. When you’re not doing those things, dopamine creates the craving to do it again.”

This explains why our brains work against us when we try to overcome bad habits, such as thinking negatively. These habits and behaviors have become hardwired into our brains that we keep repeating them because it’s what we crave.

As such, here are 5 tricks to help you get rid of your bad habits in order to welcome the New Year with a happy and improved relationship:

Understand your triggers

According to Elliot Berkman, the director of the University of Oregon’s Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab, habits have 3 main parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward.

Cues are usually the trigger that offsets the habit. For example, when your partner starts bringing up a topic you don’t enjoy talking about, you immediately lose interest and do not pay attention. Your partner ends up feeling frustrated and the relationship sours.

Being able to identify and understand your triggers can help you conquer and kick off your bad habits. If you want to try and overcome certain communication issues with your partner, then reflect on why you don’t particularly enjoy talking about a certain topic. Find out exactly where they’re coming from.

By understanding what your triggers are and what causes them, you’ll be able to address certain behaviors about yourself that you may not have noticed before.

Pace yourself

Many of us aren’t aware of the benefits of breaking bad habits. Sure, it can be tough to do it all at once. In fact, it’s a daunting challenge and pretty much a guaranteed failure. That’s why it’s important to take your time.

Forming new habits doesn’t happen in a single day. According to Healthline, it can take 18 to 254 days for someone to take on a new habit.

Be patient with yourself and solve one habit at a time. The smallest steps you take are still considered an effort on your part. The key is to be consistent with your efforts.

Understand that not everyone follows the same pace. Some may be faster than others, while others might be slower.

Find a good reason

It’s hard to kick off bad habits unless you can find a good reason to change. For some, it might be related to life-threatening consequences, like smoking. Others find their reason from their family and loved ones.

Define a valid reason that can motivate you every time you’re tempted to fall back into negative patterns. This can serve as a reminder to answer why you’re trying to change in the first place.

Change of environment

Changing your bad habits takes at least 2 to 4 weeks to accomplish, but if you’re constantly surrounded in an environment that enables your bad habits, then you might as well be running up against a wall.

Maybe it’s waking up to a noisy apartment or hoarding things you no longer need. Either way, you need to put yourself in a positive environment in order to have a big impact on your habits.

Take note that the people you surround yourself with are also a part of your environment. If you feel like the people you spend time with cannot contribute or support your progress, then it might be a good idea to spend less time with them.

Keep moving forward

Studies have shown that approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. Some give up within a few days. Others manage to reach 2 weeks before falling back into old patterns again.

Researchers at Scranton University found that only 19% of individuals keep their resolutions. It turns out that many people lack enough willpower to make their resolutions into something permanent.

Don’t stress too much about the failures and the setbacks. Treat them as if they’re a natural part of the transformation process.

Keep track of all your achievements and setbacks. You can keep a journal and take small notes on what you’ve experienced at the time. This can be a useful tool to look back on previous experiences and how you managed to overcome your own bad habits.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

woman hold red box laptop on table Commit to positive change as you create your New Year's resolution.

Breaking your bad habits can be difficult, but it can be done. Progress isn’t a straight line. Rather, think of it as non-linear. Keep in mind that you’ll have your good days and you’ll also have your bad days. So experiencing setbacks can be quite normal.

As long as you keep working at it consistently, you’ll eventually see positive progress. Remember that your daily habits can make or break your life! If you can, find support from loved ones and family members. Some may be willing to help and encourage you along the way.

Do you already have someone to support you as you overcome your bad habits? Or are you looking for a partner whom you can spend the rest of your life with? If it’s the latter, then why not consider international dating?

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