20 Tips for Quitting Any Bad Habit

6 minute read

By Guilherme Ribeiro

We all have bad habits and while we try to play it cool and pretend they’re not bothering us, deep down we really want to get rid of them. Fortunately, you can find the best tips for quitting bad habits with a search online.

Quitting bad habits isn’t always easy but it’s definitely not impossible. You just have to find the right tactics to kick that habit to the curb for good. Reaching out for professional help may also be necessary.

1. Replace it with another one

Have you ever heard that people who are trying to stop smoking, for instance, tend to start overeating? You see, when you’re used to doing something for many years, stopping it might not be so easy and you tend to replace it with another habit. The trick here is to anticipate this and replace the bad habit with a good habit, not another bad one.

2. Talk to your friends and family

Sometimes you’re embarrassed by your bad habit and don’t want to involve anyone. At the end of the day, this is your choice, but you’d be surprised to know that those around you want you to feel well. They’re going to help you because your well-being means a lot to them. You don’t have to announce it to the world, just tell the people you trust.

3. Stop progressively

The worst thing you can do is to go cold turkey. I mean, I’ve seen people stop smoking from night to day, but it doesn’t usually go well. You have to do it in small increments. So maybe instead of 18 cigarettes a day, you’ll have 17 for a week. Or instead of biting all your nails, just leave your pinky finger alone!

4. Seek professional help

If you’ve tried many strategies and you’re still finding it difficult to give up your bad habit, maybe it’s time to seek out a professional. There’s no shame in it. These people are prepared to give you the best treatment and will be there for you when you need it.

5. Understand the problem

Many times people don’t even know they have a problem until it starts to affect their lives. You must understand why you do it. Do you lie to feel good about yourself? Do you smoke because it’s a social activity? Do you drink because you’re feeling lonely?

The more you know about your habit, the easier it is to quit.

6. Be aware of the triggers

Do you smoke after you get stressed? Do you have a Scotch on the rocks as soon as you get home? Do you bite your nails when you’re nervous? Once you start paying attention to these triggers, you can identify them and take action before your habit activates unconsciously.

7. Create punishments

So you thought this was going to be a piece of cake? I’m afraid it isn’t! You’re going to have to put your well-being above everything. So if you tricked yourself into having some fast food on your way home, have your partner or flatmate punish you by changing and hiding the WiFi password. Is that Big Mac really worth missing the latest episode of your favorite show?

8. Consider your environment

Your environment can be your biggest demise as it’s often the worst of the triggers. If your cigarette pack is always on your bedside table, you might wake up and start smoking. If the frozen pizza is within reach, you might not want to cook something healthy. The trick is to move things around so as to hinder your cravings.

9. Think about the future benefits

One good tip to quit bad habits is to imagine your future self. When you think about your future self with a great body by the swimming pool, you might be more motivated to stop eating junk food and exercise. Maybe your future self receives compliments on his white teeth and good breath, so your present self will have good reasons to stop smoking.

10. Have a backup plan

As much as you might try, some things don’t go according to plan and you have to be prepared for that. What if you’re cutting out red meat because of your diet and you’re invited to a barbecue? Or you’re trying to quit smoking and everyone else has a cigarette in their hands? This will be a common occurrence, so don’t let it stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Just plan ahead and bring a snack or some nicotine gum!

11. Give yourself rewards

Quitting a bad habit shouldn’t be a depressing undertaking. You should always give yourself high-fives when you know you’re progressing! So if you managed to lose 3kg, you might have half a doughnut. Or you didn’t have a drink the whole week, so you can watch your favorite series all afternoon.

12. Remember that it takes time

I wish I could tell you that once you start taking action, your bad habit will go away instantly. It won’t. In fact, it might take some time until you actually start seeing the results. But don’t despair, if you keep at it long enough you’ll eventually get better. And when you do, it’s going to be the perfect boost for your confidence.

13. Create a plan

Wishful thinking won’t get you anywhere. If you don’t have clear goals and targets, it’s going to be hard to make any improvements. You might want to cut in half the number of cigarettes you smoke in the next six months. Or count to 10 every time something stresses you out, so you don’t “explode” and hurt someone’s feelings.

14. Make it harder to do it

If you know you can’t say no to ice cream, bury it in your freezer. If you always play video games instead of doing house chores, put your console away in the attic for a while. The thing is, you know how to get them, but it’s a pain in the neck! If it’s irritating to carry on doing something, you’ll eventually stop it altogether.

15. Track your results

This is a very important tip. If you’re planning to stop eating junk food, you might keep a record of your weight. If you’d like to quit smoking, keep track of how many cigarettes you smoke a day. You might not be able to see the difference in a week, but after a month or two, you’ll have data to prove you’re getting better.

16. Forgive yourself

If you slip up and have a cigarette or pack of fries, for instance, don’t be too hard on yourself. Giving up a bad habit is a steep hill and you’re bound to have some hiccups along your journey. Instead of spiraling into depressive behavior, stand back up, forgive yourself, and stick to the plan.

17. Join online forums

Not everybody feels comfortable sharing their problems. An online forum might be the perfect option to seek help and keep your anonymity. Unless you have a very specific bad habit (like compulsively spitting on bald men’s heads) there is definitely someone out there struggling with the same issues. You can help each other.

18. Make a public statement

This is a drastic, yet effective way of getting something done, especially getting rid of a bad habit. When you tell everyone you’re not going to smoke anymore, for example, you put yourself in a situation where everybody will keep an eye on you to make sure you don’t fail. And if you do fail, there’s no hiding from it. This is a strong motivator!

19. Find an accountability partner

When two people are facing the same problems, sometimes it’s easier to band together and tackle them as a team. Your accountability partner will be there to cheer you up when you do well, but also to slap your hand when you falter. And you’ll be doing the same for them.

20. Believe in yourself

At the end of the day, if you don’t truly believe you can pull this off, it’s going to be hard to see any improvements. Although it sometimes might seem like a lonely fight, I’m sure there are many people, some of whom you’ll probably never meet, who are rooting for you. Once you trust yourself you can do it, then it’s just a matter of time.

Learn More About Quitting Bad Habits Today

Quitting bad habits isn’t always easy. If it was, everyone would do it! But with the right strategies and persistence, you can quit that bad habit for good. While this list is a good starting point there are other helpful tips out there. Start a search online today to learn more about effective ways to quit bad habits.

Guilherme Ribeiro