Excelsior College expert, Dr. Gary McClain, is a therapist, patient advocate, and writer who specializes in helping clients—as well as their family members and professional caregivers—deal with the emotional impact of chronic and life-threatening illnesses. In this article, Dr. McClain explains the importance of getting rid of bad habits and ways you can start practicing new, positive learning behaviors and daily routines.
Got a habit you’d like to get rid of?
Nail biting? Procrastinating? Okay, I just told you two of my bad habits. Now what about you?
Nobody’s perfect. And our bad habits are certainly proof of our imperfection. Now how do we get rid of them?
To answer that question, let’s first take a look at the purposes that bad habits can serve. Habits can help us cope during times of stress. Overeating or overspending, for example, can help you get through a rough time. Comforting in their own way, at least until the next time you get on the scales or receive your credit card bill. Habits can also be a way to avoid an uncomfortable situation, like saying yes to everything. Or habits can be a way of filling time when you don’t know what else to do, like getting lost in TV land.
What makes a habit hard to break is that habits do their job! They get us through those stressful times. They fill up time when we don’t know what else to do. The problem is that not only can our habits be bad for us, but they can also create more problems, and even place our wellness at risk.
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