Control Bad Habits with Daily Reminders

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We all want good daily habits. But instead we sleep in, check our email in bed, and have “just one more.” So, how do we start breaking bad habits and start making good daily habits? Isn’t there a simple three-step plan or a good habits list that will set me free? Not really. But there is hope—both practical and spiritual hope that you can have—and this article is full of both! Just like dominoes, there are lots of tiny, daily, doable steps that make a huge difference.

Here’s a tip. As you make your way through this post, pay attention to your feelings. If you feel defensive, make note of what you’re reading. If you feel hope, take note. If you feel hopeless, take note. We believe God is alive and still works in us today. Listen closely and He will give you exactly what you need.

One more tip . This is a longer post, but more importantly, breaking bad habits and making good daily habits is a lifelong process. Powering through this content in the next few minutes and never coming back might not help you too much. You may get to one part and need a few days to put it into action. Just bookmark this in your browser or save it to the home screen on your phone, and start working your way through.

Last tip. Here’s what you’ll find in this guide: some of the best books on habits, what the Bible says about habits, why you can’t just stop your bad habits, how to break bad habits, how to make good habits one step at a time, the importance of keystone habits , a good habits list , and of course we’ll answer the philosophical question, “What is a habit?”

What is a habit?

To find the meaning of habits, let’s think about what they do. Habits always serve some kind of biological, spiritual, or practical purpose.

You’re like, “Wait, what about picking your nose in traffic?” Well, even though it’s gross, the nose gets cleaned out and stress is mitigated. There is a purpose. A more positive example of a habit is brushing and flossing your teeth. There are many biological and practical benefits of brushing your teeth—like better smelling breath, healthier teeth, removing that clam chowder taste in your mouth, and lower dental bills. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit goes so far as to makes a case that flossing and brushing your teeth is one of five keystone habits that will radically alter your life for the better! By the way, if you’re into this habits thing, Charles has been a great inspiration on how habits work . We’ll get to keystone habits in a bit.

A habit is formed when you consistently meet an important need with a chosen behavior.

So what is a habit then? A habit is formed when you consistently meet an important need with a chosen behavior. Let’s break this down into an example of a good habit and a bad habit.

Bad habit example: picking your nose.

The important needs are mostly keeping your nose clean and calming nerves. The chosen behavior is inserting your finger into your nose. Do this consistently and you have a habit.

Good habit example: complimenting your spouse’s wardrobe.

Again, there are plenty of important needs like survival, the need to not sleep on the couch, and others, but let’s just say the need is to foster a loving relationship. The chosen behavior is finding kind words to describe the way your husband or wife chose to dress. Repeat this before work, on every date, or when they’re leaving the house, and you’ve got a good habit.

So, why are good habits hard to make?

There are many reasons bad habits are so hard to break and good habits are hard to make. Chemicals, biological processes, environmental contributors, and brain science studies can each explain some reasons. All of that is important—but let’s keep it simple. Habits are hard to break because, as we just learned above, they’re meeting an important need.

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“An unhealthy identity creates unwise habits. Unwise habits reinforce an unhealthy identity.”

Even the worst of our habits are somehow in response to a real need in our lives. If you can get to the very root of a habit, you’ll often find an identity issue. Our pastor, Craig Groeschel, says, “An unhealthy identity creates unwise habits. Unwise habits reinforce an unhealthy identity.”

So what can we do about our habits? Instead of jumping into a bunch of “dos” we need to slow down and address the “who” issues. Maybe you haven’t fully forgiven someone. Maybe you have some long-term pain. Maybe you were terribly mistreated or abused. Maybe you were never taught certain things. Maybe you’re telling yourself you hate running, or you’ll always be addicted or overweight. Whatever it is, there’s a real identity battle that creates real needs in your life. Remember, even the bad habit you want to replace is somehow giving you a reward. It’s probably not a good reward, but it’s a reward. Because of this relationship between identity, need, habit, and reward, you can’t just stop a bad habit, you have to address the identity issues as you replace bad habits with good ones.

What does the Bible say about habits?

This short section has no chance at summing up what the Bible offers on this topic, but let’s look at five key themes you’ll find throughout the Bible.

  1. Isolation is a bad habit. Hebrews 10:24-25 makes it plain that neglecting to be part of a community of faith is not just the lack of a habit; it’s the presence of a habit. The original Greek word used for “habit” here is éthos which implies something that’s become a custom, that may even be prescribed by law. This lines up with the idea that habits serve a purpose—they’re a prescription for something. Good habits, like becoming a part of a faith community, are good medicine. Bad habits, like isolating ourselves when we’re struggling, only make us sicker.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

  1. Good daily habits are from God. Habits can be really good because the idea came from God. The very rhythm of God’s creation story in Genesis 1 and 2 is full of good daily habits. God followed healthy, life-giving patterns each day. Just in this one story, God illustrated habits of excellence, persistence, asking others for help (Adam named the animals; God said it isn’t good for man to be alone and created Eve), stopping to celebrate what you’ve accomplished (God saw that His work was good each day), and taking a day each week just to rest. As you read the Bible, continue looking for good habits throughout, and you’ll realize they’re a gift from God. Actually, 2 Timothy 1:7 spells out that it was God who gave us the gift of self-control.

… for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 TImothy 1:7 ESV

  1. Temptation isn’t from God. To the extent that good habits are from God, temptation that leads to bad habits is not from Him.

Whenever you feel tempted to do something bad, you should not say, “God is tempting me.” Evil cannot tempt God, and God himself does not tempt anyone. James 1:13 ERV

  1. Bad habits are bad masters. We tend to start bad habits out of a desire for personal freedom. We want to do whatever we want. If I want to roam the halls looking for something sweet, then I’m going to do it! But what happens? We end up with less freedom, mastered by sugar—or something else.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV

  1. There is a way out. What Charles Duhigg refers to as the “habit loop” can feel endless and impossible to escape. We all know what it’s like to feel stuck in a habit, making the same mistakes over and over. It can feel like there’s no way out. But God provides a way out. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to do any work, but it does mean that He is good and worth following out of the habit loop.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

What are some of the best books on Habits?

There a lot of really great books on this topic. Here are just a few of the best books on habits .

James Clear on the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast

In a recent episode of the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast, Pastor Craig had the pleasure of sitting down with James Clear, author of the best-selling book Atomic Habits, to get to the bottom of why habits matter and how they can come to shape our identities—and impact our leadership. If you’re a leader at home, work, or in any capacity you’ll want to give this episode a listen because when the leader gets better, the team gets better.

Okay, but how do I start good daily habits?

How do we make good habits? There’s not a one-size equation for making and breaking habits, but the most important variables are humility, honesty, and and asking for help. You’ll need humility to admit you can’t solve things on your own. You’ll need the honesty to tell God and others the depths of what you’re up against. Finally, you’re going to need to accept help from God, from others, and from guides like this. You can’t keep doing what you’re doing and expect good habits to magically form themselves. You’re going to have to accept and act on outside help. Speaking of help, there’s a lot of really helpful information and ideas in the books above, but here’s a simple acronym to help you get rid of bad habits and start good daily habits.

There’s not a one-size equation for making and breaking habits, but the most consistent variables are humility, honesty, and and asking for help.

H ealthy Identity

Many bad habits are there to cover or cope with something unhealthy in your identity. Porn addiction is not just about sexual need. Alcoholism, comfort eating, and even bingeing on entertainment is often a way to cope with something deeper. Constantly checking your phone is not just because there’s always super interesting information on your phone. As you begin to break a bad habit and replace it with a good one, it’s time also to open up about pain, confusion, or anger with people you trust. Let’s dig deep enough not only to replace the old habitual behavior, but also to address whatever identity issues the old habit was trying to solve or soothe. Pastor Craig Groeschel often says, “When you know who you are, you’ll know what to do.” It’s time to heal up open wounds by acknowledging them, forgiving, and believing what God says about us . But, you may not be able to see these wounds alone. Which leads us to the next step.

A sk for Help

You’ll have no problem keeping your bad habit on your own; breaking it is going to require others. Actually, trying to do stuff on your own is a habit worth breaking in and of itself! You might be able to knock out two habits in one. Ask some close friends, family, or even coworkers you trust to check in with you and ask you how you’re doing. Maybe you need to join a specific recovery support group, a LifeGroup , or get into a good church. A good rule of thumb is: The more personally destructive the habit, the more people you’ll need help from.

B e Kind to Yourself

Making good daily habits is not a perfection zone. On the day that you slip up, be kind to yourself. Don’t give into negative self-talk and self-hatred. Take this as an opportunity to dig a little deeper into whatever the bigger issue is. Spend some more time healing up and asking for help . Think of it as an opportunity for growth, deeper healing, and another chance to reinforce a good daily habit that stands up to all sorts of difficulty. Just like when you get a cold and your immune system gets stronger, this is an opportunity for the self-control that God gave you to grow and get stronger.

I nvestigate and Make Changes

This step is part of finding healing for your identity, but it takes it to another level. You may have thought you got to the bottom of your eating, spending, procrastinating, bingeing, or whatever. You identified the bad habits. You dug deeper to find some pain, started forgiving, began healing, and you developed a new habit to replace the old one. But maybe something still seems off. Maybe you feel like a joyless robot, just trying to get through life. Maybe you feel like you’ve only solved problems at the surface. Maybe the drinking stopped but you’ve gone to something else negative to cope. Maybe the old habit just won’t give and the new one just won’t set in. It’s time to investigate and make changes. Remember to keep being kind to yourself and asking for help through this process.

As you investigate, you might not have any changes to make just yet. Don’t change what’s working. Do keep repeating what is! Only make changes to your new habits that propel you toward health, growth, and a meaningful life connected to God and others.

T rust the God-Process

Habits tend to get a bad rap, but they’re actually a process God created. Let’s call them a God-process. You should trust that God is in the process of working something new and beautiful in your life as you discover healthy identity, ask for help, be kind to yourself, investigate, and trust His process. Processes like developing good daily habits are not something we make up to avoid needing God’s help—they exist because of His help. When we trust and obey God with our good daily habits they become God-processes. Without God’s help, all of our best efforts can become a self-salvation project—the worst kind of habit there is.

S mall Wins Every Day

“Small disciplines done consistently lead to big results over time.”

In his book Atomic Habits James Clear argues relentlessly for the power of small, daily wins. He challenges us to become one percent better each day. Pastor Craig says, “Small disciplines done consistently lead to big results over time.” If you want to run a marathon one day, create an identity goal to enjoy running and a small keystone habit of running at least one minute each day for the first week of your habit. Make your new habit easy and obvious. Allow yourself to grow in strength and discipline incrementally—one day at a time.

You mentioned Keystone habits—what are those?

The fastest way to comprehend keystone habits is to learn what a keystone is. If you’re in construction or architecture, you can fact-check our definition. A keystone is an architectural term for the wedge-shaped stone that would sit at the top and center of an arch of bricks or stones. Each stone in the arch pushes its weight toward the keystone. The triangular shape of the keystone’s wedge causes the entire arch to be supported. If you remove the keystone, the entire structure falls down . In biology, a keystone species is one that entire ecosystems depend on. Likewise, a keystone habit provides support for other habits . Here is a list of keystone habits to consider. What keystone habits do you already have in place? Which will you add? What keystone habits would you add to this list?

  1. Wake up with enough time to peacefully carry out your morning routine.
  2. Foster a morning routine that starts with prayer, meditation, and contemplating God’s Word.
  3. Sleep at least eight hours a night.
  4. Eliminate soda and follow the 8X8 water rule of drinking at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water each day.
  5. Eat at least one meal together with your family or close friends each day.
  6. Attend a local church weekly, and participate by giving and serving there.
  7. Exercise at least three days a week for at least 20 minutes.
  8. Declare some truths about yourself every day.
  9. If you’re married, hold hands with your spouse every day.
  10. Verbally encourage at least one person every day.

How do I keep my new habits?

As we mentioned earlier, James Clear wrote Atomic Habits with an important premise. He suggests through research and example stories that habits, like the atoms that make up our world, are best when they’re small, incremental pieces that fit together into a healthy whole. So, instead of just deciding to stop drinking, or stop smoking, or whatever, James would suggest you create a series of very small but related habits that work together to reach your ultimate goal of quitting an addiction, losing weight, or using your phone less.

Okay, we get it. You can’t just stop old habits. You need new, incremental, meaningful habits to replace them. But how do I keep those new habits? Well, you’ve actually just read many of the answers to this question.

We need to realize what a habit actually is, and we need to decide which habits we want to change.

A habit is formed when you consistently meet an important need with a chosen behavior. Write your answers to these questions: What behaviors am I regularly choosing that I don’t want to choose anymore? What triggers those behaviors? What important needs am I trying to meet with those behaviors? What new habits do I want to replace those behaviors with?

We need to acknowledge unmet needs, and we need a healthy identity.

The more difficult the habit is to break, the more likely it’s tied to something deeper that needs healing. This is going to require humility, honesty, and hunger for change. Bring trusted people into your life. Talk to a counselor, a pastor, a healthy friend, and people you love about areas where you may need healing. Use tools like Words to Live By to invite God into these places so you can replace lies and negative self-talk with the truth of God’s Word.

Your new H.A.B.I.T.S will take time.

In addition to discovering h ealthy identity and a sking for help, you need to b e kind to yourself when you experience setbacks, i nvestigate whether or not your new habits are getting to the root of things, and t rust the processes and s mall wins that God is using to renew and reshape you over time.

Find a good companion Bible Plan and book as you get started.

Whether it’s one of the books we mentioned above, our new Habits Bible Plan , or something very specific to the habits you’re looking to make and break, you’re going to need some daily help and reminders. Bible Plans are awesome because they go everywhere your phone goes and keep you in the Bible. Books are helpful because they can take longer to finish and can become a long-term companion to your habit-making-and-breaking journey.

Identify which keystone habits you need to make or tweak.

You have habits that set you up either to succeed or to fail in your other habits. This is where good daily habits come in. Things like waking up with enough time for a healthy morning routine, reading the Bible daily, connecting with God through prayer, speaking the truth to yourself, exercising, and others.

We believe in you. There’s a God in heaven who loves you. And there are people around you who care about you.

10 Bad Habits You Must Eliminate From Your Daily Routine

You are the sum of your habits. When you allow bad habits to take over, they dramatically impede your path to success. The challenge is bad habits are insidious, creeping up on you slowly until you don’t even notice the damage they’re causing.

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” — Warren Buffett

Breaking bad habits requires self-control — and lots of it. Research indicates that it’s worth the effort, as self-control has huge implications for success.

University of Pennsylvania psychologists Angela Duckworth and Martin Seligman conducted a study where they measured college students’ IQ scores and levels of self-control upon entering university. Four years later, they looked at the students’ grade point averages (GPA) and found that self-control was twice as important as IQ in earning a high GPA.

The self-control required to develop good habits (and stop bad ones) also serves as the foundation for a strong work ethic and high productivity. Self-control is like a muscle — to build it up you need to exercise it. Practice flexing your self-control muscle by breaking the following bad habits:

Using your phone, tablet or computer in bed

This is a big one that most people don’t even realize harms their sleep and productivity. Short-wavelength blue light plays an important role in your mood, energy level and sleep quality. In the morning, sunlight contains high concentrations of this blue light. When your eyes are exposed to it directly, the blue light halts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and makes you feel more alert. In the afternoon, the sun’s rays lose their blue light, which allows your body to produce melatonin and start making you sleepy. By the evening, your brain doesn’t expect any blue light exposure and is very sensitive to it.

Most of our favorite evening devices — laptops, tablets and mobile phones — emit short-wavelength blue light brightly and right in your face. This exposure impairs melatonin production and interferes with your ability to fall asleep as well as with the quality of your sleep once you do nod off. As we’ve all experienced, a poor night’s sleep has disastrous effects. The best thing you can do is to avoid these devices after dinner (television is OK for most people as long as they sit far enough away from the set).

Impulsively surfing the internet

It takes you 15 consecutive minutes of focus before you can fully engage in a task. Once you do, you fall into a euphoric state of increased productivity called flow. Research shows that people in a flow state are five times more productive than they otherwise would be. When you click out of your work because you get an itch to check the news, Facebook, a sport’s score or what have you, this pulls you out of flow. This means you have to go through another 15 minutes of continuous focus to reenter the flow state. Click in and out of your work enough times, and you can go through an entire day without experiencing flow.

10 Unhealthy Habits That Are Worse for You Than You Thought

It’s not too late to reverse your worst habits (stopping smoking, drinking, over-eating, and more) and immediately start living a happier, healthier life.

Snacking when you’re not hungry

Losing touch with your body’s natural hunger and satisfaction signals can lead to chronic overeating and unhealthy extra pounds—which increases your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other serious conditions. And if it’s junk foods you snack on, you’re also flooding your body with unhealthy ingredients. By paying attention to your hunger signals and switching to healthy snacks, you can boost nutrition, control cravings, and avoid energy slumps. Your weight will fall to a healthier level, and you’ll replace unhealthy trans and saturated fat, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and extra sodium with more nutritious fare.

How to fix it: Eat because you’re hungry—not because you’re stressed, bored, angry, or sad. And finish eating when you feel just a little bit full, not stuffed. Avoid keeping unhealthy food in your home, or at least make sure you have more healthy foods, like fresh fruits, veggies, nuts. Think low-fat versus fatty treats; whole-grain versus unhealthy carbs. And when you eat those healthy snacks, eat them as if they were a meal: on a plate, accompanied by a glass of water, with you sitting down at the table.

Spending too much time on the couch watching TV

The more TV you watch, the less physical activity you’re getting, increasing your odds of being overweight and developing type 2 diabetes. If television is replacing time you’d otherwise be spending engaged in a favorite hobby, visiting with friends, or exercising your mind, you may also be speeding up memory loss. By committing to a healthy TV/activity balance, you can burn more calories, become more fit, and reduce your odds for related health problems quickly. You’ll have a fitter body and more time for sleep, plus more energy, a better mood, sharper mind, and more social connections.

How to fix it: Try to keep your TV time to a minimum of two hours a day, and make sure you’re getting at least 30 minutes of exercise. Get the best of both worlds by doing some light workouts, like walking in place or doing sit-ups, while you’re watching. Even doing some household chores, like vacuuming or doing laundry, during the commercials can add up to 20 minutes’ worth of calorie-burning time. Avoid snacking in front of the TV, which makes it far too easy to eat hundreds of calories’ worth of chips and barely realize it. These are some more reasons why binge-watching TV is unhealthy for you.

Overspending your way into debt

Money worries can have serious health consequences. In a Rutgers University telephone survey, responders said financial stress contributed to high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, headaches, digestion troubles, aches and pains, ulcers, excessive eating and drinking, and gaining or losing weight. Regaining a hold on your finances takes time, can be hard on your ego and your lifestyle, and requires you to be constantly vigilant, plus it’s all too easy to revert back to your old habits. But for those who succeed, and many do, the results are nothing short of amazing. You’ll feel more in control of your life with less stress and fewer worries.

How to fix it: There are many things you can do to gain control over your finances. Educate yourself on the basic rules and methods of personal finance—including credit cards, mortgages, budgeting, and investing. Create and keep a budget, keeping track of how much money is coming in every month and how much you’re spending on essentials. Pay at least the minimum each month on your bills, to stay ahead of your expenses and prioritize paying more to the credit card with the highest interest rate. Automatic bill pay can ensure you’re never hit with late fees. A to be sure some of your paycheck gets automatically transferred to your savings account, set up recurrent monthly transfers via your employer’s payroll department or your own online banking. For more money-saving tips, these habits of people who are great at saving money are a great way to get started.

Eating too much fast food

A steady diet of double cheeseburgers and fries washed down with an oversize soda or milkshake can lead to a growing waistline and the health problems, like heart disease and diabetes, that come with it. Trans fat, often found in fast food, raises triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, which increases inflammation and contributes to the build-up of fatty plaque in artery walls. The health benefits of making the switch to healthy food will be almost immediate and will have substantial lasting benefits.

How to fix it: Making a permanent lifestyle change won’t be easy at first. Fast food is super-convenient, inexpensive, and, thanks to all that fat, salt, and sugar, undeniably tasty. Start by cutting back a little each week and by buying less each time you go. For instance, replace the soda with a water or the fries with a salad. Avoid popping into a fast food joint out of habit or on a whim, especially when you really aren’t hungry or when it isn’t mealtime. Cook more at home. Preparing your own healthy meals will save you money. If inconvenience is a factor don’t overlook healthier prepared meals from your local grocery store or sandwich shop. Check out the best healthy-eating tips that nutritionists use.

Getting sunburned a few times every summer

If you love sunbathing or make an effort to maintain a golden-bronze tan, you’ve unwittingly contributed to the aging of your skin. Sunbathing destroys the elastic fibers that keep skin looking firm and smooth, leading to earlier wrinkles, blotches, freckles, and discolorations. More important, sunburns contribute significantly to cancers of the skin. If you’ve included trips to the tanning salon, that’s even worse. Despite what ads suggest, using tanning beds doesn’t build up a “safe” base tan. It actually raises your risk for skin cancer and wrinkles.

How to fix it: First of all, always wear a high SPF sunscreen if you’re going to be outdoors in the sun. Sticking to the shade and wearing a hat, sunglasses, long sleeves, and pants during peak sunburn hours can also help keep your skin safe. Schedule an annual “mole check” by a dermatologist; the doctor will inspect your skin for any unusual changes. And keep your eyes on your skin yourself. Anything new that doesn’t look right to you should be checked by a doctor. Finally, if you can’t live without the bronzed look, you can get it without the cancer risk by using a self-tanner.

Behavior that leaves you angry, worried, or stressed all of the time

An unhappy lifestyle releases a cascade of stress hormones that increase your blood pressure and blood sugar, lower immunity, slow digestion, and make you feel depressed and downright mean. Nature intended stress to be a short-lived fight-or-flight response to a threat, but modern life with chronic stressors can have far-reaching impact on your health, such as cravings for high-fat, sugary foods that increase your risk of being overweight. Both the ingredients in the bad food and the added weight increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

How to fix it: A regained sense of joy and control is worth its weight in gold, and the physical health benefits will be substantial as well. Next time you feel a stressful situation emerging, work hard at managing it and keeping your cool. Among the most proven stress-relief methods are yoga, meditation, and deep breathing. Make the most of your down time, to enjoy a relaxing hobby and fully immersing yourself in it. Don’t be afraid to embrace your sense of fun, optimism, and silliness every now and then. And finally, just as being less stressed can make you healthier, living a healthier lifestyle can decrease your stress level and help you better manage stressful situations better. Check out these 37 tips for managing stress for more ideas.

Eating breakfast (or any meal) when you’re not hungry

The “rule” that you should never skip breakfast is just not true; it’s based on misinterpreted research and biased studies, says the New York Times. Almost all studies about breakfast show an association, they say, not causation. And many studies, based on self-reporting, fall prey to inherent bias and misuse of causal language.

How to fix it: Eat when you’re hungry; fast when you’re not. Intermittent fasting—voluntary abstinence from food and drink for a stretch of time each day—has received a lot of attention as of late. Research suggests that going without food for a certain length of time keeps blood sugar even, which boosts metabolism and can help the overweight shed pounds. Benefits include better glucose control and regulation of circadian rhythms (better sleep); all of these can help prevent diabetes.

Drinking too much alcohol

If you drink to much on a regular basis, alcohol can be a poison. Women who regularly consume two or more drinks a day and men who regularly down three or more daily are at higher risk for liver damage, various cancers including those of the liver and mouth, high blood pressure, and depression. Women, more sensitive than men to alcohol, can also develop heart disease, brittle bones, and even memory loss. Soon after you cut back or quit, your digestion will improve and you’ll sleep more soundly. Your blood sugar will be lower and steadier, your blood pressure may fall toward a healthier range, and even your brain will bounce back. You’ll have a healthier liver and cardiovascular system.

How to fix it: You don’t have to quit cold turkey; stick to healthy limits. That’s two or less drinks per day for men, one for women. You’re also more likely to sip your drink slowly if you reserve alcohol for meals. Drink for flavor, not to get drunk. And if you can’t stop, acknowledge the addiction. Talk with your doctor and contact a support group like AA. Check with your doctor if you should be screened more often for bone density, cancers, and liver damage. These 17 tips to help you cut back on drinking will help you make a great start.

Smoking cigarettes

As far as health goes, no habit is as harmful as smoking. It directly causes 30 percent of heart disease deaths, 30 percent of cancer deaths, and a massive 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancers, not to mention increasing your risk for mouth, throat, and, bladder cancer. This bad habit also astronomically raises your odds for heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure, on top of possibly triggering or aggravating breathing problems like bronchitis and asthma attacks. After you quit, the health benefits are almost immediate. Within a month, your lungs will work better and you should be coughing less, feel more energetic, and have less shortness of breath.Your sense of taste and smell, as well as your endurance, will also improve.

How to fix it: Treat it like an addiction, not a habit. Before you stop, prepare for the tough road ahead. Plan to quit during a calm period—not over the holidays or when you’re under a lot of stress. Prepare a strategy, a support team, and a Plan B if your first methods fail. Ask your doctor about a stop-smoking drug like Buprion and varenicline, or a nicotine patch or gum. Seek support, whether that’s from your friends and family or resources like counselors, hotlines, and support groups. And, finally, remember that a lapse isn’t a failure. Use slip-ups to discover your personal obstacle to quitting and create a plan for dealing with those the next time. Check out these 23 ways to stop smoking if you need more help.

Overusing painkillers and sedatives

When they’re not taken properly, long-term habitual use of prescription pain killers can lead to addiction, causing more problems than it solves. Even OTC drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin for arthritis or muscle pain can over time increase your risk for ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. Clues you’re taking too much of a calming drug or sleeping pill include memory loss, excess sleepiness, feeling unresponsive or confused, and falling frequently. When meds make you feel good, you may want to keep on taking them, turning them into a habit or addiction before you know it. Kicking the sedative and prescription pain pill habit is possible with commitment and support, and once the pill-taking has ceased, your body will quickly rebound from their effects.

How to fix it: New pain-relief strategies can ease muscle, joint, and head pain with fewer pills and side effects. For chronic pain, ask your doctor about switching to acetaminophen; it doesn’t cause stomach irritation and doesn’t raise blood pressure like aspirin and ibuprofen. Save ibuprofen for flare-ups of severe, short-term pain. For frequent headaches, see your doctor; migraines can be stopped often with the right medication. If you think you’ll be susceptible to addiction, challenge any doctor who wants to put you on pain, mood, or sleeping medication long-term. If you’re already relying too much on them, get help if you can’t stop. There’s no shame in asking for help from family members, friends, or your doctor. Read on to learn about more bad health habits doctors wish you would stop ASAP.

How do you remind yourself of your bad habits?

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Reminding yourself of bad habits is more important that the good habits. You need to acknowledge and recognize the behavior in order to modify and change it. Many bad habits take years to change and daily reminders of this can help you eventually eliminate them from your life. Smoking and drinking are things are generally bad for you but difficult to remove from your daily routine without significant effort. Starting by acknowledge that they are negative is a necessary starting point.

I use the Way Of Life App daily, to reinforce good habits and to track progress with bad habits. Some things take many weeks of observation to identify trends and correlations. Food to Mood associations, Sleep and productivity, etc.

A few examples of the things I track

  1. Learning activity (podcasts and books read)
  2. Fun activity (did I spend time on hobbies and with family)
  3. Meditation
  4. Productivity
  5. Gratitude
  6. Vitamins
  7. Gym/Stretching
  1. Alcohol
  2. Phone Use in morning
  3. Phone Use at night
  4. Drugs (not recreational in my case, just OTC stuff Claritin, Ibuprofen)
  5. IOS Games
  6. Social Media (in excess)

Trending and Correlation

  1. Meds and supplements taken
  2. Diet, types of food eaten
  3. Sleep quality
  4. Allergic responses
  5. General Health and concentration
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