Want to quit smoking? Have an issue with nail biting? Tired of saying “Um” too often when speaking? Want to stop mindlessly scrolling facebook, yet cannot get away from it? We all have bad habits that we would like to be free of. Often we think that we need to “break” this habit, often stopping cold turkey only to start again a few days, weeks or months later.
Instead of thinking about “breaking” that habit, focus on replacing it. Our bad habits are usually the result of stress, boredom or both. We may get biological, emotional or physical relief or security from these habits, so simply eliminating them without a replacement sets us up for almost certain failure.
Identify what “benefit” you get from your unwanted habit. How does it make you feel (physically and emotionally)? Then identify a new behavior or activity that can provide the same “benefit” in a more positive way. Enlist the help of a friend or two who will help to hold you accountable. Also, spend time with people who already have this new “habit” so that you are more likely to follow suit.