Here's How To Break Your Unhealthiest Habits

Some habits in your life come naturally such as turning off the lights when leaving a room or waking up before your alarm. Unfortunately, not every single habit affects your life positively. We all know bad habits are, well, bad for us, yet it's so hard to stop them. According to NIH News in Health, habits form through repetition. The more you do something, the more likely it is that you'll create a habit. 

As Healthline notes, although there's nothing inherently wrong with having habits in general, it is the bad ones that can affect your health and happiness. In fact, some habits might even make you feel like your life is slowly being sabotaged and ruined. The good news is that there are always things you can do to break a pattern of bad habits in order to start making better choices.

It's important to know your triggers, which means pinpointing whatever it is that might send you down a spiraling path. You should also be asking yourself why certain habits seem to have a chokehold over you when they are something you would rather let go of. Enlisting support from friends and family, being mindful, setting reminders, and preparing yourself for possible slip-ups are some of the things you can do on your path to healing from a bad habit. It's also pivotal to show yourself grace and celebrate your growth as you continue making progress in the right direction.

How to stop using swear words

Using swear words and cursing in casual conversation isn't a big deal to some people, but others think it is totally obscene and obnoxious. If you know you're about to be placed in an environment or situation where swearing simply doesn't fit the vibe, you should prepare yourself ahead of time so you don't slip up and make any mistakes. Dropping an f-bomb in front of the wrong crowd can become a hugely regrettable mistake. Some of the places you'll want to consider practicing clean language include elementary schools, churches, and professional workspaces. 

When it comes to being around young children especially, making sure that the words you say aren't jarring or harmful is a big deal. Scary Mommy explains that one of the easiest ways to stop cursing is by swapping bad words with silly and creative lingo. If you accidentally stub your toe on the edge of your bed, your first instinct might be to yelp out a word that isn't exactly rated G. You could try saying things like "dagnabbit" or "barnacles" in a heated moment instead of saying something that's too edgy or inappropriate. 

According to Mental Floss, pretending that your grandmother is in the room is a good trick. If you wouldn't feel comfortable saying a certain word in front of your dear old grandmother, then it should be easier for you to bite your tongue and refrain from saying those words at all.

How to stop fingernail biting

Fingernail biting is one of the most common bad habits people deal with. According to WebMD, nearly half of all kids and teenagers bite their nails. Unfortunately, a lot of those kids and teenagers grow up to be adults who still can't seem to kick the habit. Biting your nails can cause them to start growing in an abnormal manner, can damage your teeth, and can make you sick if you accidentally consume some of the disgusting germs that are stuck underneath your nails. 

If you feel like nail biting is something you'll never be able to stop doing, there are a couple of simple tricks to consider. One idea is to make sure your nails are always cut as short as possible. Cut your nails down with a grooming device and you'll instantly make it way too hard to get anywhere with your teeth. The American Academy of Dermatology Association suggests investing in manicures in order to stop yourself from nail biting. If you're not into colored acrylic, gel, or regular polish, you can still get clear nail polish coated onto every finger. The bitter taste of the polish will eliminate your desire to put your fingers in your mouth. Dipping your fingers in something equally bad tasting can also save the day. Think lemon juice, pickle juice, Tabasco sauce, or tuna juice, for example.

How to stop smoking cigarettes

Smoking cigarettes is not only a bad habit, it's actually deadly. If you smoke too many cigarettes in your lifetime, it can lead to a slew of health issues including heart disease, lung disease, and strokes. The sooner you let go of your cigarette habit, the easier it will be for your body to strengthen up from the inside out.

The Mayo Clinic suggests trying nicotine replacement therapy when you're trying to kick the habit. This might include prescription nicotine in a nasal spray bottle or an inhaler. It might also be nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges. You can purchase those items without having an official prescription.

The most important factor when trying to quit smoking cigarettes, according to WebMD, is to find your purpose and reason for doing so. If you truly want to become motivated to stop smoking cigarettes for good, you have to uncover a powerful and personal reason that drives you to quit. It's also important to prepare your mind before you toss your cigarettes out cold turkey. Since your brain is already hooked on nicotine, you'll undoubtedly go through a withdrawal phase. Ensuring that you have support lined up before trying the cold turkey method is a must. You can get support from a doctor, therapist, hypnosis specialist, and your closest loved ones.

How to stop drinking coffee

Many people depend on a warm or iced cup of coffee in order to start their day. They feel like they can't get motivated, they can't focus, and can't get energized enough to handle work or school without something caffeinated in their system. The truth of the matter is that coffee can be quite problematic for many reasons. According to Mark's Daily Apple, caffeine pushes your adrenal glands to release a stress hormone called cortisol. This hormone can trigger anxiety and cause you to have a panic attack, can lead to random hot flashes, and can also interfere with prescription drugs you may be taking.

For these reasons and more, it might be in your best interest to quit drinking coffee for good. To do so, Cleveland Clinic suggests gradually reducing your coffee intake a little more each day. Switching to decaf is a smart alternative since it tastes like coffee without any of the caffeine mixed in. Some of the worthy coffee alternatives you might consider include tea, matcha, and chai. If you can push through your caffeine withdrawal symptoms which might include headaches, anxiety, irritability, moodiness, and tiredness, then you'll be able to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

How to stop binge-watching reality TV

Although it might seem like binge-watching reality TV shows is a harmless habit, it can be incredibly toxic since it can take up so many hours of your day. According to life coach Micahel Pollock, most people who are on their deathbeds will never talk about wishing they spent more of their time watching reality television shows (via Life is short, which means it's important to live in the moment. 

Per Insider, one of the biggest reasons people have a reality TV binge-watching habit comes from a desire to feel connected to others. In other words, watching reality TV shows might help you feel less alone if you are currently experiencing loneliness. Finding alternative activities to enjoy with other humans instead of binge-watching reality TV is one of the first steps to take when kicking this habit. 

Spending time with people in real life will make watching reality TV shows feel less important. Some of the best places to meet new friends or romantic partners include volunteer programs, recreational sports teams, book clubs, dog parks, gyms and fitness classes, religious groups and churches, museums, art festivals, local farmers' markets, and social media apps. As soon as you've made solid connections with other people in the real world, you'll notice your desire to binge-watch reality TV shows start to dwindle.

How to stop eating fast food

Most people know that fast food and junk food items aren't the healthiest things to eat. Sure, they can be cheap and convenient, but that's where the positives end. According to Healthline, when you're trying to break free of your fast food habit, you should start planning your snacks and meals ahead of time by creating lists of what you will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner several days into the future. 

The best way to cut out a fast food habit is to ensure your first meal of the day is a healthy one. As you are meal planning, base your first meal around protein and start your day on the right foot, according to Heart Foundation. This makes it easier for you to continue eating healthy foods until nighttime arrives. And to curb mindless snacking, keep healthy alternatives available. Craving a chocolate bar? Try a low-calorie protein bar instead. Want a bag of chips? Grab a bag of unbuttered popcorn. In the mood for a lollipop? Choose frozen blueberries or grapes. 

Getting rid of fast food and junk food habits also means you have to start being mindful of when you eat. This means avoiding food altogether while you're driving, scrolling on your phone, or watching TV. When you're eating, the only thing you should be focusing on is the food you are consuming at that very moment.

How to stop obsessing over social media

Being obsessed with social media seems like an incredibly common occurrence in this generation. Just about everyone spends time scrolling through Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Unfortunately, if you spend too much time on social media, it can become more of an obsession rather than a fun way to pass time. Per Time To Log Off, one of the easiest ways to combat an obsession with social media is to turn off your notifications. If you're not constantly seeing notifications pinging in from different social media apps, you'll feel less inclined to open the apps up in the first place. 

To take it a step further, Insider explains that you should set your own personal limits and stick to them. If you make a pact with yourself not to scroll on social media during dinner time or while studying for an exam, you also have to make sure you're willing to hold yourself accountable. Keeping your phone far away while you're handling your morning and evening routines can also be helpful. If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is reach over to grab your phone, you might be struggling with social media obsession. Instead, you can use your morning hours to meditate, think positive thoughts about the upcoming day, stretch your body, drink some water, and mentally prepare yourself for what's to come before bombarding your mind with random things from social media.

How to stop emotional spending

If the only thing that makes you feel good after having a bad day is a little retail therapy, you might be an emotional spender. The good news is that there are several ways you can prevent emotional spending before it happens again. One great idea is to set yourself up for success by creating a celebration fund (via Medium Making of a Millionaire). When you know something exciting is happening in your life such as a graduation, birthday, wedding, or anniversary, you can put some money aside ahead of time that would be specifically dedicated to your big day. This way, when the big day arrives, you won't accidentally overspend.

Almost half of Americans have decided to buy products for themselves while trying to spark happiness (via Intuit Mint Life). This statistic wouldn't be so bad if 30% of those Americans didn't instantly regret it afterward. Preventing emotional shopping from taking place can start with deleting any shopping apps and discount newsletters you're signed up for. 

It may also look like leaving your credit card at home before you leave for a typical shopping spree. People often emotionally shop out of jealousy in order to keep up with their peers, out of guilt to boost their mood when they're feeling sad, or out of fear when they're feeling nervous and in need of a distraction. Regardless of the motivation behind your emotional shopping desire, it still makes more sense to nurture your finances first.

How to stop procrastinating

Do you often put things off until the very last minute? Procrastination leads to some of the most stressful moments in anyone's life, even though it can be easily avoided. Harvard Business Review suggests limiting yourself to short work periods. Instead of telling yourself that you need to work on your obligations for the next five or six hours, you should dedicate 30 minutes at a time to your task with several breaks in between. 

People struggling with procrastination would also do well to work on adjusting their environment (via Boise State University). If it's difficult for you to get started with your obligations because you have too many devices around you, you might consider moving the tech somewhere else. If you know that it's going to be too difficult for you to focus on tasks at home in your own living room, you might consider packing up your necessities and heading to a local coffee shop. 

Switching your devices to "Do Not Disturb" will also help you resist the temptation to text your friends, scroll through social media, or play random games when you're supposed to be getting your work done. Keep in mind that the opposite of procrastination is productivity. Knowing how good it feels to be accomplished at the end of your day can act as a motivator when you're trying to fight back against procrastination.

How to stop slouching

Walking or sitting with a slouch happens to anyone who doesn't exercise the necessary muscles in their shoulders and back on a regular basis. People who use computers or other devices that require a downward-looking angle are most likely to struggle with bad posture. To combat this, Healthline suggests taking time to practice what it means to stand tall. Your feet should be approximately shoulder width apart, you should keep your knees slightly bent, your stomach should be tucked in, and your head should be perfectly level. 

There are also yoga moves to try, including the child's pose and the plank. NHS describes perfect posture as making sure that your neck is straight and your shoulders are parallel to your hips. Ensuring that your shoulders and back are totally relaxed is key. Avoid tilting your head forward, backward, or sideways when trying to make sure your posture is in alignment.

If you've already spent the majority of your life slouching, it will take a while for good posture to become second nature to you. You have to start somewhere, though. People who have perfect postures tend to exude confidence and self-assuredness. Slouching, on the other hand, is a body language that can be read as bored, unfriendly, or apathetic from an outsider's perspective. It's easier to be seen as approachable and likable when your shoulders are rolled back.

How to stop oversleeping

Many people can relate to the experience of being woken up by an alarm and slamming the snooze button. Sometimes those last few minutes of sleep before starting your day are too hard to resist. Unfortunately, oversleeping can lead to a world of trouble. If you oversleep and miss something important like your work schedule or a school test, stressful moments are sure to follow. 

According to MasterClass, the way you can avoid oversleeping is to establish an ideal sleeping schedule for yourself. Keeping track of when you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning can have a positive impact on you. It's also important not to oversleep on the weekends or on days when you don't have any obligations to keep up with. If you tell your body it's okay to sleep until noon on Saturdays and Sundays, it will be even more of a challenge for your body to wake up on time Monday through Friday.

Using an alarm with lights built into it can help you out too, per Casper. When your alarm starts to buzz, hearing the noise of it paired with the flash of bright light will help you wake up from your sleep.

How to stop gossiping

Feeling tempted to share secrets and stories about people you know with your friends isn't always something you should indulge in. There is a reason gossip is considered a negative thing by most people. If people think of you as a gossiper, they likely don't consider you to be a very trustworthy individual.

Per Fox 13 Salt Lake City, the simplest way to escape conversations filled with gossip is to learn the trick of disengagement. Avoid engaging with someone who is bringing gossip to you by politely excusing yourself from the conversation altogether. You can tell them you need to make a phone call, you have to meet up with a colleague, or you need to get to work. It doesn't really matter what you tell a gossiper, all you have to do is make sure that you don't participate or get pulled into the negativity.

Gossip can be a very dangerous thing as it continues circulating through the mouths of several people (via Outside Yoga Journal). If a rumor stops with you before spreading like wildfire and growing to become worse and worse, the target of the rumor is less likely to deal with backlash against their public image. It can feel incredibly uncomfortable to tell another person that you don't feel good gossiping about someone you mutually know, but sometimes it's the only route to take in order to stop gossip in its tracks.

How to stop monopolizing conversations

People who monopolize conversations often don't realize they have such a bad habit that needs to be addressed. According to Forbes, monopolizing conversations is just as bad as interrupting others, rambling, repeating the same ideas, and glancing at your phone while talking. If you really want to improve the way you communicate with other people without monopolizing the conversation, you have to practice the art of pausing. You must understand when it's time to close your mouth and listen to the other person while they are speaking. 

Psychology Today explains that when you get stuck talking to someone who monopolizes the conversation, it feels like a full-on predicament. Letting others speak first, corralling your thoughts, and summarizing what you've heard before asking questions are some of the best things you can do to make the other person feel heard. When you've committed to partaking in a conversation, you must realize that it goes both ways. If the person you're speaking to feels like they can't get a word in edgewise, they probably won't be interested in speaking to you again in the future.

How to stop engaging in negative self-talk

Engaging in negative self-talk is a horrible habit to have. Although it might feel natural to fall into a pattern where you act as your own worst critic, you should actually be the one who builds yourself up more than anyone else does. Headspace suggests using different types of meditation, including sunlight visualization, to fight back against negative self-talk. If you can get outside to visualize yourself living a happier life than what you're experiencing in your current reality, it will be easier for you to speak highly of yourself by that same token. 

According to Mayo Clinic, the benefits of positive thinking include an increased lifespan, lower rates of depression, and better psychological well-being. If you're constantly tearing yourself down inside your own mind, you're doing the opposite of positive thinking. Every time a negative thought floats into your mind, you have to do your best to fight back against that thought. If you think something might be too hard for you to accomplish, you should tell yourself that taking a chance will be exciting. If you're convinced that your life will never get any better, you should tell yourself that each new day brings new opportunities to meet new people and try new things.