We all have bad habits we could stand to break. It doesn’t matter if your bad habits are simple ones like biting your nails or something more harmful like smoking — there’s a reason they’re called bad habits. To help you take the first steps toward breaking those habits, we’ve collected a few tips and tricks to assist you along the way.

Simple Habits

Simple bad habits — like biting your nails, chewing on your pen or snacking too much — may not seem like important things to worry about, but even little habits like these can negatively affect your overall outlook and well-being.

Remember, you’re not going to break this habit overnight. Studies have shown that the average time it takes most people to adjust to a new habit or break a bad one is 66 days. Here are a few things you can try to keep yourself motivated.

  • Fine Yourself – When it comes right down to it, money talks. Every time you do the bad habit you’re trying to break, fine yourself a dollar. Put it in a jar and don’t touch it until you’re able to go a set amount of time without giving in to the habit. If you can make it that long, use the fines to treat yourself to something.
  • Write It Down – There’s something about writing down a commitment that makes it really stick in your head. Write it down and put it somewhere you will see it multiple times every day.
  • Learn Your Triggers – What pushes you toward that bad habit you’re trying to break? If you bite your nails when you’re stressed, look into ways to reduce or redirect your stress or simply avoid the things that are making you stressed whenever possible.
  • Replace It – Replacing your bad habits sounds hard, but it’s a great way to redirect yourself whenever the temptation to indulge in the bad habit comes up. Once you realize you’re heading into bad habit territory, redirect that urge into your new habit.

Harmful Habits

There are a number of habits we often indulge in that can be extremely harmful to one’s health, including smoking, excessively using alcohol or drugs, overeating and many others. These bad habits can often be harder to break because of the physical or psychological addictions involved.

While the above tips can be helpful in breaking even these bad habits, they will often require a different approach.

  • Commit – Make it a point to commit to this change and tell someone. Bringing someone else into your circle in these cases can help keep you accountable.
  • Find Support – Don’t go into something like this alone. Not only can a good supportive friend or family member help keep you on the right path, but they can also carry you through the hard times when you want to give up.
  • Accept Failure – They don’t call it “falling off the wagon” for no reason. If you fall, just accept that you have fallen, pick yourself up and move on.

Whatever habits you need to break, the most important thing to remember is not to give up. Habits can be learned and they can be unlearned, but that can only happen if you’re willing to try to change.

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