General Question

Soubresaut's avatar

How do you break a bad habit?

Asked by Soubresaut (12788points) February 7th, 2010

Could be anything, really.
But I’m thinking of nervous habits, particularly.
How’d you break a habit? Any tips?

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19 Answers

phoebusg's avatar

Focus on a good habit – and you have to. Because habits are automatic. If you last 21 days with your habit replacement, you now have a good habit. Use a calendar, and keep doing what you said you would ;)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

When I quit smoking,I just “did“it.I know it’s not the best advice,but the only way I have ever been able to do anything or reach a goal is to JUST DO IT!

ducky_dnl's avatar

Well I have a problem with bent paper corners. I will literally get up and fix it. What helps me is knowing that even if I fix it, it will get bent or even thrown away. If I see a bent piece of paper I get the urge, but wonder what’s the point. I still may do it every once in a while though! ;)

When I first started, I would fidegt. I still do. I move my leg up and down, tap on the table with my fingers, etc. Just try chewing gum. Sounds weird I know, but try it.

ucme's avatar

File for divorce?

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

Be conscious when you are doing it. For example, if you had a bad habit of complaining, wear a rubber band around you wrist and every time you complain, switch it to your other wirst.

mollypop51797's avatar

I had a bad habit of sucking my thumb when I was little. We tried wearing a sock on my hand during night time, putting the pepper tasting nail polish my thumb, didn’t work. Eventually, I just stopped. Instead I started becoming aware of when I would do it, and stopped. Eventually I got the hang of it, but I still had to get braces!

Another habit for A LOT of kids to stop is saying “like”. That habit is very bothersome. “I was like..getting um a like..a like..cup of..like coffee..you know..and I was like..ouch this is hot! So ya…it was like..really weird and like..ya” How do I have a conversation with someone? Just get to the point, you had coffee, you said ouch because it was hot, you won’t do that again. Done. Was that so hard? Apparently for these kids it is. My kids don’t have too much of a problem, but it just so happens that you come a cross a child, start a “conversation” and the next thing you know you’ve listened to this person ramble on about how they ‘like..did this and um..ya it was like really weird’. Wow that was so interesting! [you said like about..oh I don’t know, a million times for those few sentences. not to mention, there were some “yas” here and there.]

Anyway, like @toomuchcoffee911 had said, you realize your habits once you become conscious of them.

nebule's avatar

I don’t know… I bite and pull the skin away from around my finger nails… I know it’s gross (it gets really bad like now)... and I just can’t stop, even though it’s really really painful…. I’ll manage to stop doing it for a few hours, enough time for the cuts to begin to heal like overnight… and then it all starts again….I’ve tried plasters over my fingers but doesn’t work… not quite sure what else to do. The fact is…something about it feels good,... obviously not the pain for the feeling before the pain…

janbb's avatar

I’ve read about the rubber band trick, but what I read suggested you ping yourself with it when you notice you are doing the habit you want to break. It’s negative reinforcement.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@lynneblundell What you’re doing, could ut be a variation on cutting? Talk to your therapist. ((hugs))

Kafka's avatar

Yes, it is better to just stop, once you realize that a habit is detrimental to your life (in any area) just stop. The fact that you are aware and that you have an inclination to stop is sufficient impulse to quit doing whatever it is you are doing. I stopped smoking when I got pregnant because I realized that it was bad for me and my unborn daughter. Sometimes decisions to stop doing something are geared to benefit the ones we love.

It all depends on the severity of the habit and how much it bothers you, or impairs your life.

Violet's avatar

Have you tried the rubber band trick? You keep a rubber band on your wrist, and when you start to do your bad habit (bite nails, etc), you snap it on wrist.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

@Violet I tried that once.Your wrist gets RAW.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I quit smoking when I found out I was pregnant – that was it, no withdrawal because some things are more important than my needs. Same with vegetarianism – I switched to it once all the stars aligned and I was finally fully informed and was able to gain access to substitute foods, etc. – dropping meat/fish/chicken eating was easy because, again, it was backed up for me by a profound need to improve a situation that I think is above my likes and dislikes. People are stronger than they think, they can do more than they think. I know addiction and bad habits are hard to break out of but it can be done.

Violet's avatar

@toomuchcoffee911 ouch. I tried it for a while. I would switch wrists, and snap it on different parts of my arms and wrist

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stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Inconvenience will eventually break my cigarette habit. Things are getting to the point where there is almost nowhere outside ones own property or car that smoking is permitted. The chewing gum didn’t work. Maybe accupuncture this time? My friend had an easier time giving up heroin than I’m having with cigarettes. I actually smoke while running or cross-country skiing.

Drawkward's avatar

For the little things, I just think about the habit, and how much I want to be rid of it, and go from there.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

@Violet That’s a good idea. Unfortunately, I’ve never had success with negative reinforcement.

Violet's avatar

@toomuchcoffee911 I don’t know if you still have a habit, but when I was trying to quit smoking, I sucked on lollypops. It was the holding of the cigarette and bringing it to and form my mouth that I missed, and sucking on a lollypop was similar

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