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How to Stop Bad Habits and Live Free

Priya Johnson Nov 12, 2019
Bad habits start off harmless and before we know it they become an addiction, and we find ourselves incapable of breaking free. This temporary gratification leaves us with consequences we don't like.

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“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” - Sean Covey

Small Achievable Goals

Cold turkey isn’t the way to get rid of a bad habit. Set small goals starting from minutes, hours, days, and then move on to weeks and months.

Distract Yourself

When tempted to give in, quickly distract yourself. Conscious effort and practice will eventually make it easier to resist temptation.

Keep Yourself Busy

‘An idle mind is a devil’s workshop’, so avoid a lazy lifestyle. Keep yourself busy and preferably avoid being alone. We tend to succumb to temptation when we’re alone.

Avoid Bad Company

If the people we surround ourselves with are chain smokers, alcoholics, or drug users, we’re constantly influenced by their life choices.

Avoid Places that Tempt

If you’re trying to cut down on your alcohol intake, avoid restaurants serving alcohol. If you’re trying to cut down on your smoking, avoid hanging out with your smoker friends.

Accountability Partner

Accountability partners encourage and support you through your struggle with addictions. Confiding in a friend helps.

Identify Stress Relievers

Bad habits are often the result of stress, so when stressed resort to healthy stress relief measures. Sign up for a creative class, talk to a friend, or enjoy a spa, etc. that will keep you occupied.

Choose to Break Free

We justify bad habits by saying it’s controlling us and there’s nothing we can do about it. However, we always have a choice. The road’s not easy but it’s up to us to choose to stop.
“Bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow.” - Yiddish Proverb

Be Patient

Don’t get discouraged when you backslide. The bad habit was not formed overnight and will take time to break as well.

Find a Substitute

It’s not easy to break away from a bad habit, simply because it satisfied a certain need or desire. Substitute the habit with a better alternative, to keep yourself from giving in to temptation.

Record It

Cross out the days on the calendar when you didn’t indulge in the bad habit. The cross out action gives you great inspiration to work towards your goal one day at a time.

Reward Yourself

Set benchmarks for yourself and then reward yourself for overcoming. Treat yourself at the spa or a delicious meal when you achieve your goal.

Don’t Expect Results Overnight

Don’t get discouraged when you take two steps forward and one step back. Getting rid of a bad habit for good is a long process and takes time.

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"A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time." - Mark Twain

Get Professional Help

In the case of substance abuse and addictions that have a debilitating effect on the body, make sure you get professional help. Don’t shy away from asking for help.

Join a Support Group

It’s cathartic to share your addiction struggle with others who understand. Listening to the testimonials of others and sharing accountability with them helps.

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“Change might not be fast and isn’t always easy. But with time and effort almost any habit can be reshaped.” - Charles Duhigg