7 Tricks to Help Break a Bad Habit

200301-omag-habits-600x411There is a very wide spectrum of “bad” habits that most people would like to eliminate. Whether your issue is nail biting, gossiping, shopping or drunk-texting your ex, here are some tricks to help you break the cycle:



1. Penalization

If your bad habit has a negative consequence, no matter how symbolic or negligible, it can be easier to tackle. Money is generally a powerful motivator. Use the “swear jar” method and commit to putting a dollar in it for each time you break your rules.

2. Understanding

Understanding why we do certain things is 50% of the solution. Many times we repeat bad habits without taking the time to analyze our behavior. Often, we repeat bad habits without even realizing it. If you could pinpoint the underlying cause of the unwanted behavior, it will be easier to stop yourself.

3. Slow down

Opt for a slow & sure method to change bad habits rather than a drastic cold-turkey approach. Focus on small changes and individual opportunities. Often, drastic changes are easily abandoned because they are too difficult. So, take baby steps. If you are committed to a long-term process, falling off the wagon will not make you abandon your new goal altogether.

4. Make changes

Many times, unwanted behaviors are associated with certain places or situations. Going to clubs usually promotes drinking, and your cup of morning coffee might be psychologically attached to that cigarette you’re craving. Change your surroundings and behavioral patterns in order to help avoid bad habits. Instead of hitting the club, go to a movie. Instead of coffee in the morning, try tea.

5. Testify

It can help to make a record of your goals and accomplishments when trying to break bad habits. This could take the form of a journal or video-blog. Every day, take some time to set your goals and then tally your accomplishments – it will give you a sense of productivity and perspective on your effort as a whole.

6. Analyze

It’s normal to stumble sometimes. When you experience a setback, take the time to analyze how and why it happened, and make an effort to avoid those reasons in the future. You’ll be better prepared for the next craving or temptation when it arrives.


Many habits stick with us because of how we view them, and the things we tell ourselves about them. Next time you catch yourself having positive thoughts about your bad habit, re-frame these thoughts and start telling yourself the negative qualities and consequences, even out loud. For example: smoking is not fun. It is smelly, cancer-causing and expensive.