Yes, You Can. Break Free From These 36 Bad Habits

We all struggle with them. Bad habits are holding you back and it’s time you do something about it. Change. Become a better person.

  1. How To Stop Nail Biting
  2. Nail biting is a habit that affects 1 in 4 children and more surprisingly, 1 in 2 adults.

    • Keep a nail clipper or filer nearby at all times.
    • Acrylic nails will make it almost impossible to bite, but more importantly you will get used to having nails on your fingers, which is a very odd feeling if you’re not used to having them there.
    • Stop biting one nail. Let it grow out, keep biting the others. Then add one more and one more, and quite soon you’ll prefer being symmetrical to biting your nails. Think of it as ground work for habit breaking.
    • Nail polish tastes awful and wearing it serves as an effective deterrent.
    • Wear bandaids to heal the fingers and to serve as a reminder that you’re trying to help your nails.
    • Wear gloves.

  3. How To Stop Thumb sucking
  4. Not only babies but adults suck their thumb too, especially alone in bed before going to sleep. Most thumb suckers get a feeling of comfort when sucking their thumbs and is often used to get over anxiety.

    • Tape your thumbs.
    • Put nail polish. The taste will serve as a deterrent.
    • Wear socks around your hand. Boxing gloves are most effective.
    • Hug your mom, dad, brother, sister, partner. If not, hug a pillow as an alternative each time you feel anxious. The gentle pressure of a hug can stimulate nerve endings under the skin that send calming messages to the brain and slow the release of cortisol.

  5. How To Stop Scratching
  6. Neurodermatitis is the itch scratch cycle where you scratch a patchy skin, making the area even itchier where you’ll eventually scratch simply out of habit.

    • Baking soda cures all types of itch and irritations.
    • So does apple cider vinegar. Both are natural acid neutralizers, soothing and has anti inflammatory effects that relief itching and prevent further irritation. Here’s a list of the other many wonders of apple cider vinegar.
    • Apply a thick paste made out of oatmeal and water. Apply to affected area. Avenanthramides is the compound responsible for its anti irritating effects. The less processed the oats, the more avenanthramides there is.
    • Apply aloe vera gel. It is a mild anesthetic, and helps to relieve itching, swelling, and pain. It is also antibacterial and anti fungal, and works by increasing blood flow to wounded areas, stimulating fibroblasts, the skin cells responsible for wound healing. It’s one of the many medicinal plants worth your garden space.
    • Keep your fingernails short.

  7. How To Stop Picking Nose In Public
  8. You may think that no one is watching but you’ll never know. It’s disgusting and people’s opinion of you will change when they catch you doing it. You’ll know when they try to avoid touching your hands or tease you about it.

    • Make sure to blow your nose every morning when you take a shower. Dig it clean and soap your fingers thoroughly.
    • Elevate awareness by standing in front of a mirror to see what you look like to others.
    • Wear a glove.
    • Rub chili powder on your fingers as a deterrent.

  9. How To Stop Procrastinating
  10. Procrastination is not so much a matter of being unable to handle your time as it is a matter of not wanting to face tasks you perceive as unpleasant. It provides comfort from doing things you don’t want to do. As procrastination is a learned habit, it can be superseded and replaced with a more constructive habit, giving you greater control over your life.

    • Break your work into pieces.
    • Create timelines and deadlines, especially a definite beginning time to break the inertia of inactivity.
    • Maintain a to do list to stay organized and on track.
    • Keep things simple so that the goal is clear and reachable.
    • Prioritize and do the important ones first.
    • Reward yourself for completing parts of a major task. Check your smartphone for texts, a cup of orange juice, visit to read an article or maybe a 5 minute walk.
    • Realize these 2 things. One, you are going to die. Two, you have the same 24 hours as Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Simon Cowell and Steven Spielberg. Choose to use your hours wisely, choose to be great!

  11. How To Stop Eating Late Night Snacks
  12. Late night snacking is usually driven by cravings or habit rather than legitimate hunger.

    • Eat more protein and especially these food that will keep you feeling fuller longer.
    • Throw away all junk food, stuff which is designed to make you crave them continually. Fast food = junk food.
    • Brushing your teeth will make you less likely to eat. Do it earlier.
    • Go to bed earlier or eat dinner later to avoid hunger.
    • Follow these methods if your eating problem affects you not only at night, but during the day as well.

  13. How To Stop Lying
  14. Compulsive liars not only lie about big things but also about things where lying serves no purpose. This habit or addiction is formed earlier on when one gets away with lying constantly without any repercussions.

    • If you are ever asked a question that you think you can’t answer truthfully, tell them you’d rather not answer the question.
    • Identify and stay away from situations that may encourage you to lie like group conversations where everybody brags about achievements.
    • Practise telling the truth especially to people you are not close to like online forums and acquaintances.
    • Start with easy, non personal topics like the news, sports, movies, tv shows, pets, weather and etc.
    • There are 3 things in the world that cannot hide for long. The sun, the moon and the truth. ~Buddha

  15. How To Stop Gossiping
  16. Gossiping about other people, and being critical of them, is a way of finding common ground with others, and of building up intimacy as you share information that is a little bit dangerous and private. The problem : it is a negative common ground and a false intimacy that deflects attention from the fact that the people involved aren’t actually sharing anything about themselves.

    • Never repeat something you don’t know whether if it’s true or not.
    • You will hurt others when you disclose details about their private lives even though it is true.
    • If you have an issue/problem/complaint with someone, speak ONLY to them about it. Otherwise, it isn’t really their issue, it’s yours.
    • Effectively stop someone from gossipifying a conversation by staying silent if you are not being asked a direct question.
    • Redirect the conversation to your own flaws instead.
    • Stop someone by telling them “I’m trying to stop gossip”. It can be uncomfortable but it works.
    • Be more curious about ideas, not people.
    • What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth. ~Jewish Proverb

  17. How To Stop Complaining
  18. We all complain. Even if you argue that you are the happiest person in the world, you still complain sometimes.

    • Be mindful. When you catch yourself complaining, offset your negativity by switching to positive thoughts.
    • If there is something bothering you, either problem solve and start taking steps to change the situation or stop the complaining. Get out of complaint mode.
    • It’s so important to surround yourself with positive people as complaining is contagious.
    • If you are in social group situations where everyone is complaining about something, either stay away or refuse to join in by staying silent.
    • “Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.” ~Proverb

  19. How To Stop Cheating
  20. Attraction is not a choice. You can cry, whine, scream and yet you will still feel the attraction. It’s human nature and everybody experiences it. The difference lies in how you respond to your feelings.

    • You could be an adrenaline junkie. There are tons of other things you can fulfill your hunger for thrills from. Mixed martial arts, car racing, rock climbing, mountain biking, noodling, shark cage diving, etc.
    • Play pretend. Dress to kill and hook up with your partner at a hotel.
    • When you do it for fun together, it is no longer considered cheating. It’s called swinging. You’d be surprised to find lots of other like minded people in your area.
    • Find someone who continually fulfills EVERYTHING you would want sexually (especially for men) and emotionally (especially for women) that you won’t want anything or anyone else. Yes, they do exist but to attract one, you will have to be that guy or girl first!
    • You are actually in a bad relationship and you know you should get out of it. Break it up and start your new life. Time waits for no one.

  21. How To Stop Ice Crunching
  22. Chewing ice can cause wear on your teeth, and over time, may lead to fracture lines, chips, and cracks in your tooth enamel. In addition to that, the rapid change in temperature causes expansion and contraction, stressing the teeth, especially ones with restorations.

    • As iron needs are very high during pregnancy, 50% of pregnant women commonly develop iron deficiency anemia, often leading to the compulsion to chew ice. Britney Spears did this on her 2nd pregnancy. Eat more beef/chicken liver, mollusks, red meat, chicken giblets and legume.
    • If it’s the cold experience you crave, try sucking ice instead. Have a smoothie.
    • If it’s the chewing experience, try something healthy, hard and less damaging instead. Try chewing raw carrots, celery, guava, sunflower kernels, almonds or apples.

  23. How To Stop The Habit of Tailgating
  24. You may live in a fast paced area and driving very close to the car in front of you may be the norm. However, you are at higher risk of colliding with the car in front of you, plus you also lose out on mileage.

    • Try leaving a proper 2 seconds time gap between yourself and the car in front of you if you are driving in the city. 4 seconds if you are driving fast on the highway. This is how you estimate.
    • If there is an unnecessarily slow car holding up a queue on the road, either switch to a faster lane, pass the message by honking and flashing your highlight or wait until an alternative lane appears.
    • Control your aggression from escalating by planning ahead and allowing yourself enough travel time.
    • If you ever get into the frustration of a traffic jam, lower your bass or even better, switch to comedy.
    • Think about the lives of other passengers in the car, especially children, that you are endangering when you tailgate.
    • If you have a miles per gallon (MPG) meter, try to increase your MPG by adjusting your driving. Make it like as if you are playing a game. You are sure to win.

  25. How To Stop Interrupting Conversations
  26. Interrupting someone in mid sentence and replying before they have finished is a horrible habit. This happens more often within circle of friends than with family members.

    • Most of the time, it comes from worrying about losing your train of thought. Continue to listen, but make a note of the points you want to make when it is your turn to talk.
    • Watch the other person’s gestures and facial behavior to know when it’s your turn to speak. For example, a 2-3 second silence after a sentence.
    • Learn to focus on the subject and keep quiet until the person speaking has finished.
    • Waiting until the person has finished speaking will give you time to think about your response. It will also reduce the chances of accidentally putting your foot in your mouth.
    • Train yourself to be a good listener and in staying silent by watching quality debates. Learn to keep your thoughts to yourself.

  27. How To Stop Sleeping Late
  28. Sleeping late is not bad for health but it often leads to not getting enough sleep, especially during school or work days.

    • First, you have to identify “late”. For example, if you have to be up by 6am, then sleeping anytime after 12am is late.
    • Aim to start sleep preparations 9 hours before you have to get up.
    • Restrict yourself to computer time. Turn them off 9 hours before you have to get up. Do it for 3 weeks and you will be sleeping very easily in no time.
    • Use music to help make you sleep.
    • If you have been sleeping wayyyyy past your bedtime, slowly readjust your body by going to bed one hour earlier than the night before. Keep doing that until you reach your target bedtime. This is the technique best used for school/work right after a holiday.

  29. Not Washing Hands
  30. 57% of men and 7% of women are guilty of not washing their hands in public establishments like restaurants and bars. When they did wash their hands, only 50% of men used soap, compared with 78% of women.

    • Just do it. With soap and water. Especially before a meal and after urinating and defecating. Failing to wash your hands properly can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, food poisoning, flu and the spread of MRSA.

  31. How To Stop Farting Selfishly
  32. The worst case scenario is being trapped with someone who just released the odor of death in an enclosed space with no escape. Think plane, bus, train or elevator.

    • Plan ahead. Identify gas causing food and avoid them if you know you will be traveling, attending an important meeting or romantic date.
    • If you have no choice, step out into an open area or somewhere that has good ventilation before you fire away.
    • If it happens too often, then you have a digestion problem. Solve it temporarily by swallowing two activated charcoal pills. If it persists, see a doctor.

  33. How To Stop Spitting In Public
  34. In adulthood, spitting is simply seen as totally rude and disgusting. People all over the world do it but if you’ve ever been to China, you’ll be horrified.

    • Chew a gum.
    • Phlegm build up? Take care of it in a discreet, private manner. Either wait till you arrive at a sink or wipe it off the edge of your mouth with a tissue.

  35. How To Stop Burping Loudly
  36. Burping, a release of natural gas in your stomach, is actually a completely normal part of digestion.

    • Do it discreetly. Keep your mouth closed and release it through the nose. Follow up with an ‘excuse me’ and a smile.

  37. How To Stop Slouching
  38. Slouching is a bad habit that can hinder the alignment of your spine and as you age, you will be more prone to back and neck pains.

    • Imagine a rope attached to the back part of the top of your head, and then think of someone “up there” pulling vertically on it. Visualizing this, you will feel a tug upwards and your posture will correct accordingly.
    • Get additional back support for your chair.
    • Try switching to a standing desk.
    • Do yoga. Daily. You will improve strength and flexibility in your entire body.
    • Strengthen your upper back and shoulders in the gym.
    • Join a dance class. Ballroom, salsa, belly dance and ballet are some examples that will definitely improve your posture discipline.

  39. How To Stop Cursing
  40. Swearing as a part of speech and swearing under emotional distress or anger are two different things. Regardless, swearing is bad, vulgar and shows a lack of self control and self respect.

    • However, swearing is proven to be actually good for you so choose to only keep ones that are borderline polite in your vocabulary like ‘crap’, ‘darn it’, ‘friggin nuts’, ‘holy cow’, ‘oh my gosh’, ‘for pete’s sake’, ‘shoot’, ‘son of a gun’, ‘sucks’ and ‘goodness gracious great balls of fire!’.
    • Start a swear jar.
    • Reward yourself at the end of a cuss free week with any one of these.

  41. How To Stop Littering
  42. People usually litter because they are too lazy to find a trash bin. Some would assume that if an area is already dirty, there is no reason to bother looking for a bin.

    • Find strong reasons to motivate yourself to stop the bad habit. Setting an example for your younger siblings or children and simply because you are becoming more environment conscious are 2 good motivational reasons to stop.
    • Challenge yourself for a week to not litter. If you did accidentally litter unconsciously, immediately rectify your mistake by picking it up and go out of your way to find a rubbish bin.
    • Hook a small plastic bag over the side of your car’s center console.
    • Reinforce your anti-litter attitude by picking up rubbish as you see it and putting it into trash cans.

  43. How To Stop Verbally Impulsive Responding
  44. Defined as saying things or blurting out words without thinking through how they may be perceived.

    • Try to raise your awareness level. As you progress, catch yourself in your thoughts before the words come out your mouth. Once you have made it a habit, half the battle is won.
    • Although it might be hard at first, slow down enough to feel when talking. It helps to slow your thoughts and reintegrate your mind and body.
    • Develop speaking skills and practice them. Join your local Toasmasters.

  45. How To Stop Being Constantly On The Phone
  46. Dangerous while driving, rude while socializing, potentially embarrassing when drunk.

    • Leave it where you don’t see it. Keep it in the locker instead of bringing it with you to the gym. Keep it in the drawer of your desk or leave it in your bag. Out of sight, out of mind.
    • Muster that tiny bit of willpower and switch it off.
    • Once you have adequate self control, silence the phone and remove vibration especially when with friends and family.
    • Put in a really long password for unlocking your phone to serve as a reminder that you are trying to curb your bad habit.
    • Keep only productive apps. Uninstall the rest, especially games.

  47. How To Stop Shaking Your Legs While Sitting
  48. Happens usually when you are anxious, bored or excited.

    • Everytime you are aware of it, just stop and stay rigid until the urge goes away.
    • You may be feeling the ‘pump’ from ingesting too much caffeine or sugar. Reduce and eventually stop drinking coffee. Soft drinks as well.
    • Take frequent breaks every 30 minutes or 1 hour. Walk around and stretch. Allow your legs to get the exercise it needs.

  49. How To Stop Cracking Knuckles
  50. The ‘pop’ of a cracked knuckle is caused by bubbles bursting in the fluid that lubricates your tendons and joints, called synovial fluid. That’s the reason why you can’t crack the same knuckle twice in a row as you’d have to wait for gas buildup in the synovial fluid. Do it too often and it can become annoying to people near you.

    • Keep your hands occupied. For example, just hold a pen.
    • Put dots on your knuckles to serve as a reminder.
    • Wear a glove or socks on either hand.
    • Try stretching your fingers instead by fanning them out.

  51. How To Stop Playing With Hair
  52. A seemingly harmless act of twirling, playing with your hair can become a compulsion if you don’t put a stop to it. It can lead to frizzier hairs regrowing and follicular damage where regrowth potential is diminished.

    • Wear a hat.
    • Wear gel, hairspray, or something wet that will make you uncomfortable when you touch your hair.
    • Tie it into a bun and clip it to keep it away from your face.
      Keep your hands occupied. Play with a spring hand grip instead.
    • Wear black nail polish or any other colour to serve as a reminder to stop.

  53. How To Stop Chewing loudly
  54. It’s rude, especially talking with your mouth full.

    • Eat slowly. Chew at least 50 times before swallowing.
    • Take small bites. You’ll finish chewing much quicker than if you were to take big bites.
    • If you are asked a question in the middle of chewing your food, just ignore the person or indicate that you will reply after you’re done swallowing.

  55. How To Stop Popping Zits
  56. A pimple is a little sack that holds oil, debris, and acne bacteria. When you puncture the pimple’s outer skin, gunk oozes out. If it splatters and lands inside other pores, it can lead to more pimples.

    • Wash your face twice a day with warm water and mild soap.
    • Keep blotting sheets with you wherever you go.
    • Slap nose strips all over your face, once a week.
    • Put a really good spot cream on your zit after a shower to prevent yourself from touching it throughout the day.
    • Start eating nutrient rich, low fat meals and drink at least 3 liters of water a day.

  57. How To Stop Clenching Your Jaw
  58. The usual culprit for jaw clenching is stress. Do it too often and you will eventually start having real dental damage that will need to be fixed. Some people grind right through their enamel exposing their dentin.

    • When you notice yourself clenching, relax and then push the tip of your tongue between your teeth.
    • Rest your tongue between your teeth or stick it out. You get very conscious of what you’re doing and will eventually learn to not grit your teeth, especially when you’re concentrating.
    • Keep your mouth occupied by chewing gum, humming or singing.
    • If it happens during sleep, wear a dental guard.

  59. How To Stop Watching Too Much TV
  60. Say, you watched four hours of TV, sitting on your couch in a dimly lit room. Now take the TV away. It would just be you, sitting idly staring at the wall for four hours. TV and most other media sources only serve to inhibit the furthering of individuality and make it more difficult for you to think for yourself.

    • If your TV is in your bedroom, move it out.
    • Record your TV shows for the weekend. Almost all network TV shows are filled with commercials. You save time when you can fast forward the commercials.
    • Limit yourself to no more than 5 hours a week. Eventually, you’ll come to realize that there are other more important things to do.
    • Make plans to keep yourself occupied productively especially during primetime. Sign up for yoga, dance class, read a bestseller or do something artistically related like making music.
    • Don’t turn on the TV for background noise. Try turning on some music instead.
    • List your goals and try to accomplish each, one by one. Can be as simple as going out to a specific restaurant with someone special or complicated as saving for a down payment or running in a marathon. Not only will it stop you from watching too much TV but it will also make you feel good about yourself.
    • Get involved in volunteer work. Habitat for Humanity, libraries, homeless shelters, animals rescue and old folk homes are all great places to learn, meet new people and form attachments. This gets you out of the house and you’d feel good contributing to the community.

  61. How To Stop Skipping Breakfast
  62. It is the most important meal of the day and yet people skip breakfast because they are either too lazy, ignorant or just forgot about it.

    • Sleep early and set your alarm to ring an hour earlier before you walk out the house. This is if your excuse is ‘not having enough time’.
    • It doesn’t matter if you wake up at 10am or 10pm. Breakfast is understood to be the first meal of the day you consume within an hour after a proper 6-8 hour long sleep, even if you are not feeling hungry. The point is to kick start your body’s metabolism.
    • Don’t want to get fat? Eat breakfast. It keeps you from ‘starvation eating’ later on, produces enzymes that metabolizes fat, and increases your energy levels resulting in a more active lifestyle.

  63. How To Stop Overusing Over The Counter Medications
  64. Tylenol, Advil, Panadol, Imodium, Benadryl are some of the most commonly used over the counter medications by millions of people all over the world. When you consume too much relieve medications, your body becomes haywire and more problems will occur. See medication overuse headache.

  65. How To Stop Drinking Too Much Soft Drinks
  66. Once hooked, it can be awfully hard to give up the fizzy stuff. Frequent, daily consumption WILL eventually lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay.

    • Get your fizz and sugar fix by taking a shot glass worth of REAL 100% juice, such as pomegranate, blueberry or sour cherry, and mixing it in with sparkling water.
    • Exercise to help kill your cravings for soda.
    • Substitute with healthier alternatives like tea, soy milk or lemonade.
    • You may go through caffeine withdrawal. Fix it with these tips.
    • Replace the ritual by identifying the contributing habit. For you, it could be something about getting up at 4pm, walking to the fridge and grabbing your drink. You could keep up with your fridge walks but substitute the drink with a healthier alternative.

  67. How To Stop Eating Too Much Junk Food
  68. You know it is bad for you but food companies have made the taste perfect so that you continue to keep coming back for more. They are high in calories, saturated fat, sugar and will lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

    • You could be experiencing nutrition deficiency. For example, women may crave chocolate during menstruation because their magnesium levels drop. Instead, eat more dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish and beans. If it’s something salty that you crave, it could be vitamin B deficiency. If so, eat more turkey, tuna or liver.
    • Remove the temptation by throwing them all away.
    • Snack on nuts and seeds instead.
    • Reward yourself and make your own healthy snacks.
    • Never go to the grocery store hungry. Never.
    • Use your time wisely. Avoid sedentary lifestyles by staying active, both physically and mentally.

  69. How To Stop Swallowing Food Far Too Quickly
  70. Chewing is done almost habitually to most, as an unconscious reflex. Most people chew less than 10 times before swallowing.

    • Take smaller bites of food to begin with.
    • Chew 50 times at least, especially for harder foods. Food that is broken down into smaller particles are easier to digest and helps your small intestines absorb nutrients better.
    • Swallow completely before taking the next bite.
    • No drinks until you have swallowed as liquids in your mouth will make you swallow prematurely.

  71. Stop Sneezing Or Coughing Without Covering Your Mouth
  72. It’s startling that 1 in 4 people do not cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. It’s disgusting and germs spread easily.

    • When you feel a sneeze or cough coming, use a tissue and cover your mouth.
    • If there is no tissue, do it into the crook of your arm so that your hands stay clean. Remember to clean it as soon as you are able to.
    • If you are down with a bad flu, wear a mask when around others. Be considerate and prevent the virus from spreading.

3 replies on “Yes, You Can. Break Free From These 36 Bad Habits”

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