Breaking a bad habit is never easy. No matter what your habit is,
here are some ways in which you can help overcome it.
Understand why your habit is bad
For a habit to be considered bad, it has to have some kind of negative consequence. In the case of picking one’s nose in public, it could simply damage your public image by making people assume you’re less civilised. In the case of bad habit like smoking, the negative consequences may be more serious – it could be seriously damaging your health, costing you a lot of money and affecting relationships. Remind yourself of these negatives constantly and you’ll be more motivated to quit.
Create physical barriers
Setting up physical barriers can prevent you from giving into your bad habit. This could include not keeping snacks in the house to prevent you from snacking or keeping your bank card at home when going on a night out to prevent you overspending. You could even get other people to create barriers such as having a relative lock the wi-fi with a password during certain hours to prevent you checking Facebook. As for subconscious habits such as biting one’s nails, you could try wearing gloves at times when you’re most likely to start biting them.
Replace your bad habit with a healthier habit
Giving up a bad habit often leaves a void. Filling this void with a healthier habit can make giving up your bad habit feel like less of a loss. Common examples include vaping instead of smoking, drinking no-alcohol substitute drinks instead of alcohol, drinking decaf coffee instead caffeinated coffee or using words like ‘fiddlesticks’ or ‘sugar’ instead of swearing. This strategy doesn’t work for everyone and some people may feel that they’re teasing themselves by substituting something similar.
Set goals and rewards
Goals and rewards will keep you spurred on. You could use a calendar or an app to record your progress – by seeing how long you’ve gone without giving in to your habit, you’re more likely to stay motivated as you count up the days. You can then treat yourself every time you meet a goal. When it comes to bad habits like drinking, staying sober can be hard and you may have some relapses. The key is not to let these relapses take you back to where you were – simply continue give up the habit as you were before you relapsed. You may be able to punish yourself with less serious bad habits, such as having a swear jar to prevent you swearing.
Let other people help
Having support of other people will keep you motivated. With more serious bad habits, you may decide you want to get professional help. There are lots of forums out there where you may also be able to meet other people who have also given up.