It is good to have habits to help you function with daily life whether it is making it a habit to wake up at the same time to get ready for work or you make it a habit to watch your calories when you prepare meals. But, there are also bad habits that can ruin your life whether it is pouring yourself an alcoholic beverage as soon as you come home from work or smoking a cigarette during your lunch break. The University of Oregon’s Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab has scientific methods to make it easier for you to break bad habits to eliminate them from your life.

Know Your Cues

The three elements to a habit are the cue, routine, and reward. Cues are triggers that tempt you to start and continue with your bad habit. It can be anything such as habitually ordering dessert every time you go out to dinner or to hit the bar whenever you drive past it on the way home from work. By knowing your cues, you will know how to avoid them. For example, if you know that the restaurant you go to has a dessert menu, ask your server in advance that you will not be ordering dessert and not hand you a dessert menu. If you tend to drive by bars on the way home, drive home using a different route with no bars in sight.

Replace Good Habit with Bad Habit

It can be hard to stop a habit that you have done for months or years. According to a 2008 study in an “Appetite” publication, those who suppressed their thoughts about chocolate consumed more chocolate than those who did not. Suppressing your thoughts about something you do not want to think about will make you think about it more. The best thing to do is to replace a bad habit with a better one. For example, if you feel like smoking, chew gum instead.

Reason to Quit

Sometimes, replacing a bad habit with a good habit is not as effective if when you chew gum, you want nicotine more. When this happens, tell yourself that you want to quit because you want to take better care of your lungs and not get cancer. By staying away from triggers and remembering why you wanted to quit in the first place, these bad habits should be away from you.


Located in Georgetown, Texas, Alma Loma is a transformative living center to help those struggling in early recovery to transition out of our Psychiatric and Substance Abuse residential center. Alma Loma believes that addiction is born from an untreated mental illness in which our facility is willing to help you. Our facility offers residency, medication management education, individualized treatment, life skills education, 12-step support, and more tools to bring patients the confidence to be able to live an independent life. For more information, please call us at 866-457-3843.