Friday, July 11, 2008

Turn Bad Habits Into Good Ones

I recently received an email from someone who had visited my video site, After viewing my video on how to beat addictions, she wanted to share with me her own recent success in overcoming her struggles with alcohol, and then ask me if I had any advice for helping her overcome her ongoing addiction to cigarettes. I offered several successful methods and programs that helped me quit smoking (years and years ago, thank goodness), and then added one of my favorite sayings:


While far from a cure-all, especially when attempting to quit smoking cigarettes (nicotine addiction is one of the most difficult battles to overcome), this advice has helped me change my life for the better time and time again.

Using smoking as an example, what I suggested to my email friend was to stop cold turkey. Actually, I suggested that she check with her medical professional first before making any drastic lifestyle change in diet, fitness or addictions. Once she stopped smoking she should then replace that nasty habit with a healthier one—like exercise. Start off slowly at first (a walking program is always my first choice for those just beginning to get back into an exercise routine), and then build from there. I then suggested eating healthier foods. Essentially, what this does is force you to stay away from the butts. By introducing healthy habits into your life, your mind and body (and don’t forget the other member of the triad of balance, the spirit) will rebel against such a negative intrusion—like inhaling burning tobacco leaves into your once pink lungs, introducing a toxic poison that will cut years off your precious life. After awhile, not only will your body reject tobacco (or alcohol or greasy fast-foods), but your mind and spirit will too.

I am a huge believer that diet and exercise, along with a positive mental approach, can cure just about anything. Most of the good habits I recommended to combat the struggle with quitting nicotine addiction can be applied to other bad habits that afflict us all—be it trying to stop the over-consumption of alcohol or attempting to cut down on fast-foods or soda.

I used to be a Diet Coke fiend. Let me give you some background about myself first. I was once a heavy drinker, from the age of sixteen to thirty-six. I figure I used up all of my booze tickets in twenty years, when they should have lasted me a lifetime. Using the bad habits/good habits method, along with other effective programs, I was able to quit drinking, and haven’t touched a drop in over fifteen years. But one habit I acquired, after giving up the vodka, was soda. Diet Coke, to be precise.

Figuring I had eliminated just about all other vices from my life, what harm could soda do me, right? Especially diet soda. I used to suck down five, six, seven or more bottles a day for years…until I started reading up on what was actually in diet soda. Along with the high sodium, which causes bloating, and various gastrointestinal side effects, overconsumption of diet soda is far from a healthy beverage option.

The solution: Turn that bad habit into a good one. My good one was: green tea. Never that much of a coffee drinker, I had read about the health benefits of drinking green tea, so I tried it—and have enjoyed it ever since.

This method can be applied to just about any bad habit. Watching too much bad TV? Shut off the set (there are some good shows on television, but it’s up to you to find them and then only watch the good ones) and pick up a good habit—like reading. Or a fun or interesting hobby. Relationship with your spouse getting dull? Spice it up or switch things around. Some of our routines, while necessary and comforting, can become ruts, if we allow them to. Turn that bad habit into a good one.

As I have said, this is not a cure-all for whatever ails you (some problems need bigger solutions), but give this method a try and see for yourself. The results may surprise you.

Good luck with whatever challenges you face. And may all your habits be good ones.

Until next time...





This is so bizarre! I gave up alcohol 12 years ago (not a drop since) and then got into the diet Pepsi addiction and then gave that up for iced tea with Stevia. Sounds familiar!! I love your tips!

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike
Just came from digg and got a lot out of that post thanks.I'm really started to enjoy all the positive healthy stuff that has been coming my way lately.I quit drinking and began blogging in Nov and haven't drank since so is blogging a cure?;)For me it has been and I'm glad for that.Anyway I appreciate your writing and will have to go get a taste of the video.Thanks and have a great weekend.I stumbled you a few to for good measure.

Anonymous said...


Very insightful thinking. Although I don't have any addictions from the early on in life, I've been workaholic at times. What has helped is a simple exercise of mindfulness. If you focus on the activity that bothers you, you'll create an awareness. View it from an outsider's perspective. Write down your thoughts. If you do this for few weeks, you'll find an answer from your conscience. I love you blog. I have subscribed.


Anonymous said...

Replacing bad habits with good ones is so crucial. Cutting off accessed to the previous habits is very helpful. Along with that it is also important to first deal with the underlying unresolved emotional pain. That will ensure no need to turn to any other bad habits or addictions.

Anonymous said...

Read everything health nut wannabee wrote - ditto.


Anonymous said...

I am hoping to move to Puerto Rico where I can grow most of our healthy food right on a tropical plantation. I do like gardening anyhow here in Colorado. I think that gives you both: local, fresh and healthy food with exercise out in the garden. Maybe you could write a post about gardening?

Also, FYI I am a health educator specializing in tobacco education. Thanks for getting the word out about the harms of tobacco.

Anonymous said...

Just dropping by and I stopped for a read. You have some very interesting advice for quiting smoking. A vice that I would like to get rid of personally. I will give your advice a try, and hopefully be smoke free before the end of the year. BTW great post!

Anonymous said...

great idea/concept and reminder that something GOOD can emerge from the seemingly bad.


Anonymous said...

I love Green Tea too! But too bad most of them I'm drinking the green tea bottled with sugars lol, which defeats the purpose, really