I have had many conversations in my office about stopping a bad habit. These habits often include things like eating junk food, negative thoughts, smoking, over-spending, anger outbursts, or a repeating argument in a relationship. Clients will often say they “just want to stop” or “I don’t want to do it anymore” or “I try not to think about it.” However, the attempts at not doing something can be just as addictive as the habit itself.
Instead, I encourage clients to think of crowding out the habit with your preferred outcome. This works in two ways. One you are spending time thinking about what you would prefer to be doing (instead of doing or not doing the habit). Two it becomes easier to succeed. We can all commit to doing less of what we want to change or practice starting a new habit. And by focusing on the replacement you begin to untangle yourself from the habit making it easier to forget about entirely.