How to stop a bad habit

We’ve previously blogged about creating new habits and making them stick, but what should you do if you’re trying to stop a negative habit?

How to stop a bad habit

Just as we are capable of making new habits, we are very capable of breaking old habits. It does however take time and willpower.

The first step is to understand why your habit is negative and why you want to stop.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • When did the habit start?
  • How long have you had the habit?
  • Is it associated with your emotions?
  • How do your friends and family perceive the habit?
  • Why do you want to stop the habit?

Answering these questions can offer you some perspective before you start the process of changing your habits. Below we list some tips to help you get started.

Stop procrastinating

This first hurdle is a common one. Changing your habits can seem like a big task, so it can be easy to put it off until another day. Try to resist this urge, the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll make progress.

Start simple

This is a tip we often give to those creating a new habit, but it’s also important when you’re trying to break one. If you try to change a number of habits at once, you may find it difficult. Instead, focus on stopping just one habit first and then you can gradually include other habits.

Get support

Telling other people about your habit breaking plan will hold you accountable. You’ll also benefit from getting encouragement and support from your loved ones, which can be crucial. If you’re finding it especially hard to stop a habit you may benefit from professional help. Many people find hypnotherapy a helpful tool for breaking negative habits.


Visualise how you’ll look and behave once you have broken your habit. Will you be healthier? Happier? More confident? Keep this picture in your mind and use it as motivation when you need it.

Be OK with imperfection

Nobody’s perfect, so don’t set yourself up with unrealistic expectations and don’t punish yourself for slipping. If you make a mistake along the way, think about why it happened, learn from it and move forward.

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Written by Kat Nicholls
Kat is a Content Producer for Memiah and writer for Hypnotherapy Directory and Happiful magazine.
Written by Kat Nicholls
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