5 Best Ways to Eliminate Bad Habits for Good

(and when It’s Best to Use Each of Them)

Michał Stawicki
Jun 21, 2017 · 10 min read

1. Quit Cold Turkey.

You simply stop indulging your habit, not even from ‘one day’ but from ‘right now.’ You say to yourself: “Stop!” “No more!” or “This ends now!”

1. Make it your identity

Identify yourself with breaking your bad habit; tell yourself: I am a person who doesn’t…. [insert your destructible behavior]. Telling yourself may be a weak strategy, especially if you feel that you are affirming the falsehood. If you habitually went postal a few times a day for years, saying “I am a person who doesn’t get angry,” may sound like a fairytale.

2. “Just today”

Tell yourself that you abstain from your bad behavior only for today. The prospect of quitting a bad habit that is a part of your life for years or decades may be overwhelming. You have succumbed to this behavior for so long, that you don’t feel you have the power to break it.

3. The ritual of destruction

When is it best?

This method, surprisingly, works well in breaking addictions.

2. Change Your Habit Loop.

When is it best?

This method is very universal. It is the most efficient in case of ‘bodily’ habits- nail-biting, facial expressions, ‘involuntarily’ gestures, or even unwanted speech patterns.

3. Use the Small Steps Approach.

This method tries to combine the best elements of the two instanced above.

When is it best?

This method works great when you have some measurable activity to get rid of. Alcoholics rarely count the number of their shots, and it’s hard for them to say, “OK, this week I’ll have two shots of vodka every day, but the next week it will be only two bottles of beer a day.”

4. Track to Reinforce Your Determination.

This is not a method of breaking a bad habit per se, but it’s helpful in absolutely every instance of getting rid of a habit.

When is it best?

It’s best to track your habits every single time. Whether you break the bad habit or build a positive one, you should pay close attention to your progress.

5. Focus on Good Habits.

This method kills your bad habits by starvation. I had some great successes with it.

When is it best?

When your enthusiasm and dedication for your good habits is higher than disgust over your bad habits, this is the way to go.


Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

Michał Stawicki

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Authorpreneur. Progress fanatic. I help people change their lives… even if they don’t believe they can. I blog on http://ExpandBeyondYourself.com/

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.