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How to Defeat Harmful Habits

People often ask “How to kick my habit of smoking or drinking alcohol?” or “How to learn to spend my time with benefit?” The fact is that each person has a certain set of unique characteristics, such as qualities, abilities, talents, aspirations, interests, etc. Habit is an established way of behavior, the manifestation of which, in a certain situation, becomes a need for a person. Habits can be both good and bad, useful and harmful. Good and healthy habits are the cause of perfect mood, achieving goals, and improving the quality of life. Bad and harmful, on the contrary, cause suffering, bring to depression, feelings of powerlessness, and other extremely negative conditions for a person, even to the deterioration in the health. Nonetheless, the most pivotal feature of bad habits is that they “take root” so deep inside the person that they become “completely natural.” It is very difficult to get rid of them. However, any bad habit is not a definitive diagnosis, and it can be eradicated. Now you will learn the secrets of making good habits, breaking bad habits. The first thing to talk about is the phenomenon of habits itself. In psychology, this phenomenon is defined as an automated and human-assimilated action. 

How Our Habits Are Formed

Habit formation occurs according to a rather simple principle – a person performs an action, and at first, he or she has to keep the entire process under complete, strict control, paying attention to all the components. However, as you repeat it, it becomes easier to perform this action. The result is that a person starts doing something familiar, without asking at all why he or she does it. It is called automatism. That is the essence of the habit.

The motives for performing habitual actions are often deep inside the human consciousness. If we consider this question from the perpective of efficiency, we can say that the habit in its essence plays only into the person’s hand since it saves time and energy, which, thanks to it, no longer needs to be spent on concentrating and controlling the action committed. However, when the question concerns a bad habit, people spend a lot of time and energy on getting rid of it.


As we have already found out, the habit is an automatic action. Such automatism is only a consequence of a reason hiding somewhere deep. That is why, in order to eradicate any bad habit, it is necessary to determine its cause. 

Mental states play a great role in the formation of any habits. For example, due to stress, people begin to bite their nails, overeat, and smoke. Similarly, people who are unsure of their appearance constantly begin to correct their hair, make-up, clothes, etc. To avoid all these things, you need to find the root cause of all these misfortunes. You should look at yourself from the outside.

Positive Emotions

Anyway, even the nastiest habit has such a strong impact on a person because it gives its "owner" some positive emotions. It is important to realize does your habit hinder you? If it does not do much harm, perhaps you should not get rid of this habit. However, if it is hurtful, it is significantly greater than the power of pleasant emotions (talking about smoking), then you should definitely get out of this habit. Only the understanding of this fact is an essential step on the way to the cherished goal.


This stage is perhaps the most crucial one. To get rid of the bad habit, you need to make a firm decision to do it. Of course, we are not always able to resist the temptation to return to our beloved habit. If the main reason for our desire to kick it does not work, we can create several points of no return for ourselves. Consider, for example, that if you start smoking again, you will always be late for the bus. You can also make a bet with your friend. It will be a great motivation for you to forget about cigarettes for a long time. You can come up with anything.

New Habit

The decision was made, you cannot retreat back. However, what to do if you want to do something so much? So that the old habit does not prevail over you, you must replace it with a new, useful one. This new good habit will certainly bring the same positive emotions. The best new habitude is to leave work a little earlier and eat a candy instead of smoking a cigarette. First, you will have time for the bus. Second, you will stop harming your health. Third, your mouth will not smell of tobacco. To replace old actions with new ones, you need to perform them constantly, day after day. 

Develop Positive and Proactive Thinking

These are two types of thinking that are slightly different from each other but have their own advantages. Positive thinking is the ability to see the good side in any situation and make every effort to achieve success. Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean that you are only mulling over the good and are not doing anything to achieve your goal. All great businesspersons think positively because it is very difficult to unite people with one aim, to encourage them, and to fire the employees with the enthusiasm without this quality.

Proactive thinking is the ability to choose the reaction to the external stimuli. There is a small gap between the stimulus and the response, which determines how we respond. Many people believe that proactive thinking is an advanced version of the positive one.

The habit lies precisely in the very gap between the stimulus and the reaction. Whenever a trouble happens in your life, do not fall into an unconscious state and do not respond aggressively. Calm down and think about the fact that this behavior has no meaning; you need to comprehend the problem, define and solve it.

Do Morning Exercises

It is hard to imagine something drearier than morning exercises, but there is one important point here. If you overpowered yourself and engaged in sports activities, if means that you have learned how to change your state and develop your willpower. Thus, instead of one habit, three new ones are formed at once. What are the benefits of morning exercises? 

  • They make you feel better, as well as more confident.
  • The workout strengthens the ability to think positively and proactively. 
  • Sport relieves stress and gives time to think, which leads to the mental well-being. It is a kind of meditation.
  • The workout involves the brain at full power, dispersing blood throughout the body.

Focus on One Goal

The two most crucial elements in achieving a goal are focus and energy. Instead of doing two main tasks for two days, do one thing today and another one tomorrow. 

Exclude Irrelevant Things

To do this, determine all the things of the first magnitude in your life and then get rid of the irrelevant ones ruthlessly. The difficulty of acquiring this habit is that the unnecessary things appear constantly. To make it easier to deal with irrelevant affairs, divide your activities into several areas, such as work, personal life, entertainment, family, and health.

Create Your Schedule

The order is a sequence of actions during the day, as well as a great opportunity to change your life. The focal point is to plan the morning and evening. Do you ask why? The right beginning and end of the day affect your sleep, rest, activity, and mood. How to start and end your day effectively? In the morning, it is advisable to do exercises, meditate, and keep a diary. In the evening, you can make a plan for tomorrow activities and read a book. These things will help you focus on the most critical moments.

Habits You Must Get Rid of

You should avoid the habits that damage your body, increase stress, and generally destroy your life. However, sometimes, they are so strongly interwoven with everyday life that we consider them the part of ourselves and do not see anything wrong with them. Nevertheless, they have disastrous consequences.

Useless Internet Surfing

The Internet takes away the main value, your time. It could be spent on something vital, something that will bring you money, respect, and new results. The network also reduces concentration, which many cognitive scientists see as synonymous to intelligence.


It is one of the most pernicious habits, from which you need to start to get rid of right now. It leads to depression and major health problems, some of which are irreversible. Start your “treatment” from the book by Dale Carnegie “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” Read and reread it, rewrite important positions and use them in your life.

Spending Your Time on YouTube

Yes, formally this habit refers to the first one (about the Internet) yet but the influence of YouTube is so great that a person can use it all day long without visiting other sites. Many videos do not carry a special intellectual burden; they also take your time and drain your energy. Some people are proud because they do not watch TV and at the same time, they spend their lives on YouTube. Be selective, watch educational videos in clear time and do not follow the recommended links if you have not planned it.

Proving Your Right

In most cases, it is a waste of time and effort. Even if you persuade a person, you will cause resentment in him or her. No one wants to feel wrong. It also does not mean that you should agree with everything. Express your opinion but do not impose it. Moreover, if you still need to change a person’s point of view, then do it wisely, let the other person think that the idea belongs to him or her.

Stop Wasting Your Weekends

On Friday evening, most office workers fall into an unconscious state. They do not even have the idea that they can do anything else except to go to the bar. Everything continues on Saturday, and Sunday serves as the day of recovery. In fact, two days go nowhere. This is a huge amount of time. What can you do instead? You may learn a foreign language, read one or even two books, etc.


Theoretically, any money you earn can generate income. Spending money on unnecessary things is a habit. It is worth getting rid of it. Saving just 10% of your income each month will help you in accumulating capital and breaking the habit of spending money on worthless purchases.

Always remind yourself that your habits are part of your personality. The ability to control your habits is a very important skill for everyone. If you are unhappy with your life, you must change something in it.

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