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Cut It Out

ALL YOUR LIFE, you’ve heard, from your parents, teachers, and friends, “Don’t be a quitter”. But most of us have things in our lives we need to quit—sooner rather than later. Whether you’re trying to stop smoking,overeating, overspending, being tardy, procrastinating, or anything else, there are logical steps to help kick that bad habit to the curb.

Whatever you’d like to quit, from nail-biting to over scheduling your time, the longer you’ve been doing it, the more challenging it will be to quit. Challenging, but not impossible.


  • Start by evaluating when you find yourself indulging in this negative behavior. What are the circumstances? How are you feeling? Are there triggers that set you off?

  • Keep a journal of the times you want to cave: when and under what circumstances. Try to look at your life from the outside in.

  • Keep your journal for at least a week then analyze the data and look for obvious triggers. Do you do it when you are anxious, bored, hungry, lonely, or overly tired?

  • Make a pros and cons list. How is your smoking, overspending, or overeating effecting your health?What are the consequences of your always being late or constantly procrastinating?

  • Consider how life would look, if you could quit? How would your life—and the lives of the people you love—be different without this albatross around your neck?

  • Do some research on just how bad this habit can be or how bad it could become.

  • Look for replacement activity. If you want to quit smoking, try eating sunflower seeds or chomping on carrot and celery sticks. If you’re trying to stop biting your nails, try chewing gum. If you’re overeating out of boredom, take up a new hobby or craft.

  • Fine yourself for offenses, either with money (which you can donate to a charity) or an unwelcome chore (litterbox, ugh!).

  • Remove temptation. Don’t keep junk food in the house. Avoid the smoking areas at work. Cut up all but one credit card and pay it off monthly.

  • Tell someone what you’re trying to quit and ask them to hold you accountable. If you can find someone who’s successfully relinquished the habit themselves, all the better. Be honest and let that person know how you’re progressing (or not).

Be patient with yourself, take things one day at a time, and celebrate even baby steps. You didn’t develop your bad habit overnight. So, give yourself time to CUT IT OUT!

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