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How do I stop bad habits?

21 Answers
Last Updated: 08/16/2021 at 8:37am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Stacey Kiger, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My belief is that therapy is not about giving advice, but joining you on your journey

Top Rated Answers
July 14th, 2015 12:22am
1) Learn about why they're bad for you, that should discourage you to an extent. 2) Usually there's always a "bad habit-stopper" out there for almost any bad habits, for example, nail polishes that make you not want to bite your teeth or chewing gum that reduces your urge to smoke. 3) Find out how others have stopped their similar bad habits and try doing what they did.
January 26th, 2015 10:27am
You can start by being aware when and why you commit your bad habit. Figuring out when you do it and the circumstances behind it, might help you understand why you're doing it in the first place. The second step can be writing it down: if you take notice of the antecedents (the thoughts that causes you to do that behaviour) and you take note of it, you are making yourself more conscious of your own doing. You can also write down some pros and cons about doing the behaviour. The last step is to replace the behaviour with something else. Example, if you're a nail biter, start chewing gum.
September 1st, 2015 5:14pm
First start with what are your worst bad habits and what triggers them. Then look for a way to avoid them by replacing them with good things.
February 17th, 2015 1:43pm
Do them less and less each day. I personally suffer from trichotillomania (a hair pulling disorder) and to stop myself from that I had something to fiddle with.
March 26th, 2015 10:41am
You have to really genuinely want to stop bad habits. Mentally prepare yourself, tell yourself that you are going to stop whatever the bad habit is and then make a mental plan of how you're going to do it.
April 1st, 2015 2:42pm
Try to replace the bad with its opposite. For example, if one wanted to stop smoking, don't light the cigarette, cigar, etc., which in most cases will enable the ability to resist the temptation of actually smoking.
April 24th, 2015 9:33am
Gradually. Set yourself small achievable targets. For example, if it's to quit smoking, allow yourself to smoke but a little bit less than usual then keep decreasing the amount until you no longer feel it necessary to smoke. Because they're habits, our brains are conditioned towards them. We only feel normal if we carry on doing them. The trick is to give yourself the permission to do it but in a way that helps you work towards stopping it. That way, you won't feel bad about doing it because you'll be meeting a target you've set yourself and you'll be motivated to carry on working towards stopping the bad habit completely. It is a gradual process though, so will require a good amount of patience.
August 24th, 2015 10:58pm
if you wanna stop a bad habit i feel that 1st you must want to stop it and truely want to stop it.. then you must find your own way to stop example if you bite your nails... you might try putting that nasty tasting stuff on your nails or have a friend slap your hand every time they see you bite your nails.
September 8th, 2015 1:16pm
Practice. If you are aware of something you are doing, that you want to stop doing, then you have to take it one step at a time. For instance, I had bit my nails for years, like horribly down to the quick, until I decided that I didn't want to anymore. So, each day, I made the conscience effort to stop myself when I started to chew on them. I focused on filing them or painting them instead of biting. It took a while, but eventually they grew longer and stronger, stopped breaking off, and now its a new habit of not biting them, but just keeping them clean and shaped. Anything we want to change about what we do, we can. It just takes will power, want, determination, and consistency.
January 26th, 2016 1:55pm
You have to consciously want to stop and just stick with it. There is really no other way. You have to want to change/stop.
March 29th, 2016 3:54pm
Remind yourself that they are actually unhealthy, and that there are much better ways to deal with something
April 4th, 2016 6:12pm
Depending what the bad habit is will depend on how I will stop them. My most recent bad habit I stopped doing what smoking. I had smoked for about 15 years and for the last 5 years I knew that it was not something I wanted to do forever. I tried to quit using various methods but nothing ever stuck and I was beginning to feel defeated. The more defeated I felt the most desperate I became and then the more I smoked. It was a never ending cycle. In the end it was not just one thing that helped me quit but variety of factors. The timing was right because I felt desperate. I also had 2 other friends who wanted to quit so we were able to treat it like a game. I bought myself an e-cig which I used religiously for the first week. I still have it in my house just in case I get an urge to smoke a cigarette. Also, I wrote a list of my reasons for quitting and pinned it on the door leading outside. I stopped going to certain places that I knew were triggers. I kept gum on me always. I gathered up my support circle that I knew would be there for me in case I needed to call them. I told them some things they could say that would help me get through a craving, It has been 4 months now, which is my longest stretch. I do still get cravings but they are much easier to dismiss. I remind myself of my reasons for quitting and they put a smile on my face.
April 11th, 2016 3:30pm
That completely depends on you that how determined you are about giving up your bad habits !! In order to overcome this You must indulge in activities i mean You must keep yourself busy !! This would enable you not to think about your bad deeds...
June 28th, 2016 10:00pm
Set small goals for yourself. It's going to be hard and unrealistic to stop a habit, especially if it's one you have had for ages, immediately and suddenly. By setting smaller goals, you will feel a sense of accomplishment when you achieve it, and it will lead you up to slowly over coming your habit. For example, cut down the habit to once a day, then every couple of days, weekends, once a week, once every 2 weeks... thats just an example, but small steps and youll get there! Secondly, don't beat yourself up if you fail. No one is perfect, it is okay to mess it up, Just keep trying, You will get there eventually
July 12th, 2016 12:26am
It takes a lot of self control to stop habits because you do them so often. If you do break the habit you will feel like you've achieved something and it will be worth it.
May 2nd, 2017 7:11pm
Make yourself a timeline of when you'd want to get past it (not too soon, give yourself some time, but still with an end-line you can work towards). Try keeping a record of when you do the habit, to see how frequent it is. You can try giving yourself a reward when you don't do the habit, and a punishment (not too harsh!!) when you do it. Eg. reward could be buying yourself a little gift, a punishment could be not allowing yourself to have dessert.
October 16th, 2017 4:26pm
Awareness is the first step to stopping a bad habit. If you are not aware, you can not take the necessary steps to stop. The next thing is creating a structured plan that will help you break that habit. Removing whatever external variables can trigger this habit such as purging junk food or simply unplugging the TV. Consistency is the key with forming habits and understanding how that habit was formed will help you break it..
January 1st, 2018 6:18am
The best way is to always try and keep them on your mind, pay them extra mind, and put in the effort.
July 9th, 2018 3:44am
Self-realization is the first and foremost step of the solution. Once you gain that self-control is the final step.
April 27th, 2020 8:42am
Do less. Just focus on fixing one thing at a time. If you try to transform everything at once, it tends to be very destabilizing. In general, what people should do is think of change as a project. It is a project that takes time. Now, it can be frustrating to say, "If you have ten habits you want to change, that means it will take eight months or nine months." The truth is, if this is really important behavior, the change will have a huge impact on your life. It is worth spending a month to change a behavior permanently. You will reap the benefits of this for the next decade. ” You don't have to review your life. Just kill a bad habit. Give it a month and then move on to the next.
August 16th, 2021 8:37am
By replacing it with another habit. Like if you are a smoker you feel like taking a puff when you feel stressed or when you're bored. You can replace it by trying to chew gum or by drinking water when you are stressed. You may prefer going for a walk or eating anything healthy during that time. You should know l what triggers your bad habits. Do you feel triggered to open social media when you see the notification? Do you scroll through social media mindlessly when you just wanted to take a break for 10 minutes? Identify why you did it in the first place. Start small. Don't try to change it all at once. One step at a time. Like, try to read one page at a time instead of seeing your phone at night before sleep. I hope this helps. Good luck.