“Idea List: Breaking Bad Habits,” New Era, Sept. 2002, 11
Knowing bad habits can sometimes be hard to break, students at the West Linn High School Seminary in West Linn, Oregon, came up with ideas on how to overcome bad habits.
Choose just one behavior you would like to change and work on that first. It can be overwhelming to try to be perfect all at once.
Substitute something wholesome, positive, and enjoyable for the bad habit. It’s easier to slide back into old habits if we don’t have something new to replace them.
Quit your bad habit for the right reasons. Love of God and a desire to do what is right are more motivational and lasting than fear or duty or anything else.
Ask family members and friends to help keep you in line and to support you when you are trying to make the right choices.
Do your best to kick your habit and pray for help to make it the rest of the way. Gain extra spiritual strength through fasting.
Write your goals down, step by step, and read them regularly as a reminder of what you want to accomplish and why.
Stay far away from tempting situations.
Believe in yourself. Remember, as you sincerely try to do what is right, Heavenly Father will give you the strength you need to overcome your bad habits (see Ether 12:27).
Work. Work. Work. A habit—good or bad—is something we have practiced over and over until it becomes second nature. It will take work to overcome the bad habits we have been practicing.
Overcoming some habits requires professional help. Seek that help if necessary.
Remember that habits are hard to break. Heavenly Father loves us despite our mistakes. He will not give up on you; so don’t give up on yourself if you falter. Keep trying.
Set up a reward system for yourself to encourage you to stay on track.
If you just need to forget yourself and to stop obsessing about giving up on a bad habit, try serving someone else. There is great power in serving others.
Turn to your bishop and your family for more ideas on conquering a bad habit.