Advice from successful students: how to get rid of bad habits

We all have habits. Some of our habits – such as morning exercises or hiking every weekend – are considered good, while others – such as smoking or procrastinating – are commonly referred to as bad ones. Once we realize that a particular habit is bad, we automatically start thinking of ways to give it up. At this stage, we often get confused, we don’t know where to start, and we feel the need of good advice in this matter.

Here are some recommendations from successful students on how to get rid of bad habits.


The Merriam-Webster dictionary tells us that a habit is something that a person does often, in a regular and repeated way. So one can say that a habit consists of repeated actions. Each of these actions is your decision. Each time your clear your throat means that you have decided to do it. Once you realize that your bad habit is only your responsibility, at first you may feel confused and overwhelmed with this idea. But ultimately, realizing that you are the only one in charge, that you are the boss of it, is an extremely empowering thought.


Each of your actions has its consequences. Some of these consequences are expected – they are often your reasons for going on with this habit. But sometimes the negative outcomes may be unexpected (or simply ignored). Analyze the inevitable and the possible consequences of your habit, and divide them into positive and negative ones. For example, you like to skip breakfast because you would like to lose weight. Here is a brief list of pros and cons of such a habit:

+ you do lose a few pounds;

+ you take less time to be ready for studies in the morning;

– you get hungry earlier than you would otherwise;

– you risk getting yourself a full-scale eating disorder in the future.

Such simple listing allows you to weigh over these pros and cons, set your priorities straight, and determine whether you like to go on with the habit or give it up. This way, you decision will be entirely conscious.


We often keep to our bad habits because we only see the immediate positive outcome. For example, you have a cigarette, and you feel a little bit more relaxed. The long-term effects are not seen immediately, so you have to visualize them. You should remember not only that smoking abuse may damage your health, but also the exact consequences: the damage it does to your lungs, your cardiovascular system, your nervous system, etc. You can also count the money you will save by quitting smoking; after all, cigarettes a really costly affair in most countries. Do not dismiss long-term effects just because they lie in some distant future, always keep them in mind.


Humans are social beings. Our social connections, including friendships, influence our lives in a crucial way – sometimes more than we like to admit. If you want to stop biting your nails, inform all your friends of the intention. When we make a promise, we usually like to keep it; no one likes being called a liar or a weak-willed person. Besides, you can ask your friends to slightly tell you off whenever they see you biting your nails; this way, you will be sure that the habit you want to give up does not go unnoticed, and irritates your friends not less than you. Teamwork!


It often happens that a bad habit is triggered by an external factor. Many people state that they feel like smoking only after a third shot, or that they start biting their nails when their hands are idle. This way you can facilitate giving up smoking by avoiding drinking places or stop biting your nails just by getting yourself a squishy ball.

It really does not matter if you think you can give up your bad habit at any time, or see it as a tough challenge, you will surely find these recommendations useful. Remember that giving up a bad habit does not only set you free from the negative consequences of your addiction. It also makes you feel so much more empowered and in control over your life.

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