Everyone has bad habits, but few of us fail to realize when they’re actually negatively affecting our lives. Bad habits can be innocent things such as biting our nails, to things that could jeopardize our health such as binge drinking and overeating. There are bad habits that can affect our health physically, and some that can affect us mentally.

But getting rid of a bad habit isn’t as easy as it sounds. Even if it’s something small, if your body has gotten used to it, then it becomes a tall order to remove it from your life.

Getting rid of a bad habit is a myth

Unfortunately, simply “getting rid of” a bad habit doesn’t exist. Instead, what it takes is a replacement. That’s why many people switch from alcohol to other drinks, or they go from smoking cigarettes to vaping. There are replacements for bad habits that help occupy that void we would be missing, and that’s usually the best way to actually “get rid” of a bad habit.

As you can see, you’re essentially just replacing one thing with another, so don’t just think that you can completely remove something from your life especially if it’s become a habit.

Boredom and stress cause bad habits

The two most common sources of bad habits are stress and boredom. Bad habits are often a way to deal with times when you’re incredibly bored or stressed. That’s why many people smoke cigarettes–because it helps them relieve stress and gives them an excuse to head outside, smoke a cigarette and have time to reflect in a quiet environment.

As you can probably tell, this is hardly the most healthy way to get some peace and quiet, so you need to think of other ways to beat that stress and boredom instead of relying on something that could be bad for your health. As mentioned above, you don’t just simply “get rid” of a bad habit–it has to be replaced.

This means that certain bad habits, such as binging around watching television, could be replaced with something productive such as watching an educational video or practising a certain skill.

Sometimes, rehab can be incredibly helpful

Not everyone requires rehab in order to beat a bad habit. However, if it’s gotten to a point where your health can be negatively affected by trying to replace a bad habit, then it’s a sign that you may need to visit a rehab clinic. When it gets to a point that even trying to replace a bad habit causes nasty side effects, then you’ll need professional assistance from people that understand how addictions work and how you can break them.

Rehab also has the advantage of surrounding you with people that also have the same goals of beating bad habits. It’s a positive environment that will help you get back on your feet, and ultimately teach you to replace bad habits with more productive activities.

As you can see, the narrative of “getting rid of” a bad habit is false. What people fail to understand is that you replace it–you don’t just get rid of it from your life.