Mind & BodyMindset

10 Best Ways to Break Your Bad Habits

break your bad habits

There are many different forms of addictions.  Substance addiction such as drugs and alcohol and non-substance or behavioural addiction.  Most people think of substance abuse when it comes to the discipline of quitting.  Behavioural addictions can also have devastating effects on the people that are going through a quitting process too. Making it difficult to break your bad habits.

Some of the most common non-substance addictions include food, overeating and under eating, sex, gambling, and even healthy behaviours can become addictive such as exercise.  What makes the situation even more complicated is that for every addictive behaviour, there are some people who can engage in the behaviour without developing an addiction.

Here are 10 quick tips for breaking bad habits and taking back your life addiction free.  In no way will the journey be easy, it is extremely difficult and requires a retraining of the addicts thought process.

10 of the best ways to break your bad habits

Positive Headspace

This is going to be the most important tip.  When your quitting addiction your mind is going to literally go to war.  Your headspace is going to have to be strong, army strong.  So, when you get that overwhelming desire to reach for the durry or the bong or the doughnut, your headspace is going to have to go into defence mode.

Be aware of this struggle, the best way is to recognise the bad habit you need to break.  That way you can talk yourself through it.  It will be relentless for a period, but as you conquer the devil daily, it will become less of a battle and more of a slap and tickle.  Positive headspace and go to war.

Distract Yourself

Everything about addiction is tactile.  You will need to replace that physical habit, for example, your smoking habit is hand to mouth, with coffee, in the car, drinking with mates.  Your mind has been trained to repeat this pattern so you will need to replace it.

There are several things that help and you will find something that works for you.  Popular distractions are chewing gum, flicking a rubber band or drinking water.  Do yourself a favour and find a small replacement habit.  You won’t need it forever, but it will add to your overall success, long term.

Up Your Exercise

The decision to quit a bad habit is BIG. So. maximise this new healthy mindset and get your body moving.  It will naturally get your body producing endorphins. Endorphins provide the same feelings of pleasure in the brain while reducing pain felt in the body.

For people quitting an addiction, cardiovascular exercise will release these happy hormones and are a natural way to help combat what is doing you harm.  So, you will need to get your heart rate up for the maximum benefit, so brisk walking, jogging, running, cross-training and swimming, are some ideas.

Shake up Your Diet

You’re going to be going through some serious withdrawals.  Your body will need all its energy to keep your mind positive and focused.  So, take this opportunity to have a look at your eating habits.  It won’t take you long to break your bad habits with a decent diet.

Increase your fruit and vegetable intake.  If you’re having a sugar crave, which is very common when withdrawing form substance abuse, opt for a good quality dark chocolate.  The benefits of organic dark chocolate can be improved blood flow and lowering of blood pressure these alone will be of benefit and help keep your mind in peak condition.

Keep processed foods to a minimum and if you find your munching more than usual during the day, opt for sliced fruits, almonds, or seaweed snacks, all low in calories and natural brain food.

Open a Savings Account

Whatever your substance of choice might be, one thing is certain, it probably costs you a LOT in cold hard cash.  You know this, but I am guessing you’ve spent the length of your bad habit, lying to yourself about exactly how much.

You will thank me later for this, but seriously, stop lying to yourself and start working for yourself.  Open a brand-new account, a completely different account, don’t link it, you want this account to serve as a testament to your strength.  Once you have your new account, set up a direct deposit from your daily.  And be realistic with yourself.

You have spent years, scraping up money to feed the monster, you have made it your priority financially, so with that same zeal, transfer this money into your new savings account.

Every week check in on your balance, this will reinforce just how much money your wasting and as the weeks past and your determination soldiers on, you will see the reward growing.  It is important for this money to be separated; this will give you an eye-watering truth about the cost of your habit.

Be Socially Savvy

It is common for our habits to be reflected in our social group.  If your friends are addicts, like you, this is going to need a plan.  Hanging out and relaxing with our peer group is, of course, an essential part of our human psyche, but if you’re surrounded by a peer group that has yet to break out of their bad habits this is going to be dangerous.

Some ideas would be to not mix physically with your tribe for a time.  You might need to give yourself some distance physically.  That doesn’t mean you ignore them though!  You might need to be more involved via social media, texting, Snapchat etc, and just more distance physically.

This won’t be forever, just until you feel strong enough that being around them isn’t a trigger.  Explain this to them, if you feel comfortable and they will understand, but before you launch back in, plan and stick to it, you will thank yourself for this in the coming months.

Break bad habits


Sleep is one of our body’s best healers.  It is vital to the success of quitting that bad habit that is controlling you. A study published in the journal Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision showed that even one night of sleep loss results in a decreased ability to effectively make decisions.

So, if you’re trying to break a bad habit this is critically important.  You will need all your mental acuity to be successful.  Try to fall asleep without distraction, have a comfortable room temperature and try to distract your mind with goals you have accomplished so that you go to sleep feeling positive and peaceful.

Relaxation Techniques

As with sleep, it is a good idea to learn some new relaxation techniques.  Your mind and body will be affected from withdrawal so to combat this try to find something soothing that works for you.  There are plenty of options out there – yoga, bushwalking, meditation, Pilates, art therapy etc.

But keep in mind you will want something that works for you and something that is mild on your body.  You want to immerse yourself in calm, internal relaxation.  This will be for your mind more than your body.

Yoga and meditation are good for this as they concentrate the breathing and centre the soul.

Find a New Hobby

One of the best ways to break a bad habit is to make a new healthy replacement habit.  Start looking for a new hobby or interest.  Something that you might have thought about for ages, but for some reason put to the side.

The great thing about this is, this new interest will be completely free from anything to do with your old addictive lifestyle.  It will feel fresh and untainted.  One of the interesting things about breaking a bad habit is the longer your sobriety goes on the more your confidence grows.

You can use this confidence to start something that you always wanted to achieve.  It doesn’t matter what it might be, do a course, learn some pottery, have some pilot lessons.  You are achieving and doing it addiction-free!

Set Some Long-Term Goals

Our last tip is one for the long haul to break your bad habits..  Set yourself a long-term goal.  This will give you a focus on the future.  So, you have a plan to manage your short-term cravings, that’s great, now look bigger!  Conquering a bad habit is an enormous personal achievement so don’t be afraid to celebrate it.

Think about something you have always wanted to own, an expensive piece of art, a new car, a classic car, an extravagant overseas holiday.  It really doesn’t matter what it is, make it uniquely yours.  Picture boards are great for this.

If you have an office or just a fridge, put some inspirational photos, or tickets or even notes to self, up and remind yourself that you’re in this forever and you will reward yourself!

Remember …. Set Yourself Some Goals, Stay quiet about them, Smash the hell out of them …. Then … CLAP FOR YOUR DAMN SELF!  Its the only way you will really break your bad habits.

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Jessica West

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