We all get into certain behavioural practices that are harmful to us and others around us. Most of get over these in our childhood; some persist into adulthood and old age; others are picked up later in life when it’s more difficult to shake off. If you want to wean yourself off though, try the following practices.
Find an Alternative
First step is finding something harmless or even beneficial that can substitute for the harmful habit that you are indulging in now. If you are a smoker and you want to give up the nicotine, switch to e cigarette mods which use menthol or some other flavoured liquid to vaporize instead of tobacco. Eventually you need to give this up as well, especially if this behaviour proves addictive as well. However, for the moment, switching to something that will help you give up the harmful practice you carried on earlier will suffice.
Most harmful habits begin because of some deeply rooted cause, like trauma, anxiety, phobias etc. Many people smoke to deal with anxiety and stress and they find that whether they puff a cigar or disposable e cigarettes doesn’t make much of a difference. Many adults who bite their nails were often very nervous, timid children who went through some experience that required a silent outlet; nail biting became a coping mechanism. Once you get to the root cause it is easier to eliminate the behaviour because then you can deal with it head on and with an awareness of why you do it.
Look for Support
There’s a reason why recovering alcoholics go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Support is essential when you are trying to get rid of a habit that is harmful. Let people know that you are trying to get rid of the habit so that they can help remind you to stop it if they catch you doing it. This applies to anything, whether it’s sneaking in another drink before work every morning, smoking over 3 packs a day or biting your nails before an interview. If you are too shy to go to meetings and support groups in person, find online forums where there are plenty of supportive people who have been through the same process as you.
Don’t expect it to be easy and don’t expect to be great at remembering to not do the ‘habit’ immediately. You are going to slip and you are going to fall back into ‘old habits.’ The key is to remain motivated and not to give up. If you have a habit of drinking fizzy drinks instead of water, don’t stop drinking them immediately and certainly don’t feel bad if you fall off the wagon a bit. Regroup, rethink and re-start.