Habits - we all have them. Some are good, and some are bad. Good habits are the ones to keep and bad habits are the ones to lose. It sounds simple, and it can be. Breaking bad habits begins by recognising the habit; the next step is creating the plan to break the habit.

While every habit is different and will require a different approach, there are some similarities to overcoming any bad habit. Consider these beginning steps to set you on your path to a healthier life:

1. Focus on one habit you want to overcome.
2. Determine what you want to achieve.
3. Set small, realistic goals -- breaking a big task into several smaller tasks makes it more manageable.
4. Seek a support system or friend to help you through the rough spots.
5. Jump in and start working towards those goals!

Habits take time to form, and time to break. Remember this common rule of thumb: Most habits take 21 days to make or break. That's only three weeks to a better, healthier life. Most habits start out as an occasional activity and build into habits over time. If you understand how habits are formed you can use the knowledge to develop good habits and avoid creating bad ones.

Habits are formed by repeating an activity or behaviour regularly over a period of time. We tend to walk a certain way and talk a certain way because we repeat these activities over and over. Habits happen in much the same way.

Many times the best path to overcoming an unhealthy habit is to replace it with a healthy habit. Try these five steps for replacing your habits:

STEP 1: Recognise your habit.

It is as simple as it sounds. Recognise your unhealthy habit and when you are most likely to fall into it. Write down your reasons for wanting to stop, and keep the list posted in a prominent place in your home or office.

STEP 2: Pick a replacement activity.

Figure out what you can do in place of your habit. If you crack your knuckles, consider buying a rubber ball to bounce or squeeze. Consider creative replacements to habits such as music or art. Write down your reasons for wanting to start this new and healthy habit, and keep this list posted next to your list of reasons to quit.

STEP 3: Become habit conscious.

Try to be very aware of your habit. Spend some time each day reviewing your reasons for wanting to quit this habit, and consider how your life will be once you are rid of it.

STEP 4: Replace your habit.

Make an effort to practice a new healthy habit at every opportunity. Even if you aren't ready to give up the old unhealthy habit, continue practicing your new habit. You want it to become a part of your everyday routine.

STEP 5: Stop the old unhealthy habit.

Don't put it off - stop that habit today! No matter how long it takes, only you have the power to overcome your habits.