9 Steps for Breaking Bad Habits: Planning for Setbacks

We all have some bad habits that we would like to change. These habits are rituals that we follow since time immemorial and make us feel in what we know as a “comfort zone”, a space or a situation in which we feel comfortable and safe.

Therefore, Bad habits are all those behaviors that we habitually do that are harmful to us and often hinder us from achieving our goals, as they prevent us from making the desired change.

Breaking bad habits can be a challenging and often frustrating process. It can be easy to fall off the wagon and revert to old habits. But it’s vital to remember that setbacks are a normal part of the process and can actually be an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.

Here are several steps you can take to plan for setbacks and get back on track.

1-Forgive Yourself

It’s important to be kind to yourself when you experience a setback. Don’t beat yourself up or dwell on the mistake. Instead, recognize that it’s a normal part of the process and move on.

2-Take a Break

Sometimes a setback happens just because you’re overworking yourself. Often you can put things right by going for a walk, or working on something else and coming back to the issue with a clear mind. Planning for frequent breaks will help you minimize the number of setbacks you experience.

3-Evaluate What Happened

Take some time to reflect on what led to the setback. For example, did you have a particularly stressful day that made it harder to stick to your habits? Did you get caught up in a social situation that made it difficult to resist temptation? Understanding the root cause and triggers surrounding the setback will help you develop strategies to prevent it from happening again.

4-Set Specific and Achievable Goals

Clear goals keep you focused and motivated as you overcome setbacks. Be sure to set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). You can learn about this at almost any university website, like this one in Minnesota.

5-Be Flexible and Adaptable

Setbacks are a normal part of life. It’s vitally important to be flexible and adaptable in the face of them. If something isn’t working, be willing to adjust your plan and try something new.

6-Find Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Stress majorly contributes to setbacks, so it’s imperative to find healthy ways to manage it. Choose healthy options that are proven to work, like exercise, meditation, or talking to a therapist.


Don’t let a setback discourage or derail your progress entirely. Instead, use it as an opportunity to start fresh. Set a new goal and make a plan to achieve it. Don’t worry about how long it will take – just focus on taking small steps in the right direction.

8-Seek Support

It is helpful to have someone to talk to when trying to break a bad habit. A friend or family member who is supportive and understanding can encourage and help you stay motivated. You can also consider joining a support group or working with a coach or therapist to help you overcome your challenges.

9-Stay Positive

Getting discouraged during a setback is common, but staying positive and focusing on your progress is important. Remember that change takes time, and it’s okay to have setbacks along the way.

Planning for setbacks is an important part of breaking bad habits. You can overcome setbacks and progress towards your goals by forgiving yourself, evaluating what happened, restarting, and seeking support. So don’t get discouraged – keep moving forward, and you’ll live a better life through positive habits sooner than you think.

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