4. Expect feelings of loss and anxiety as you work to change your habits.

5. Instead of talking about your habit, try letting it talk to you.

6. View your attempt to change a habit as an experiment, not a test of character.

7. Envision the rewards of breaking a bad habit.

8. Give yourself plenty of time to change your habit and plenty of social support along the way.

9. Take up a new physical or creative activity in order to replace your habit.


It could be smoking, junk food, mindless TV watching, or something so personal you wouldn’t tell anyone about it. Whatever it is, you know this habit is not good for you. It hurts your health, adds weight, or wastes valuable time — and it almost always makes you angry with yourself.

But with the next breath you may tell yourself that your habit is not all that serious and that you could leave it behind at any time. Yet every time you’ve tried to quit — perhaps hundreds of times — you’re back at it the next day or the next week. In between attempts to quit, you conclude that you just don’t have the willpower to change. You’ve heard that other people manage to find the will and the way, but not you. This makes you feel so discouraged that you decide you need another cigarette, another candy bar, or simply a time-out from worrying about your bad habits.

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