We are all creatures of habit, from the foods we buy, to the TV shows we watch, to the way we put on our clothes each morning. But not all habits are good, and most people have at least one habit that they want to kick. Whether it’s smoking, unhealthy eating or nail biting, you can work to kick the habit by breaking it down into small steps.

Kick a bad habit by taking small steps can make the process seem much less intimidating. Instead of one large goal that may take weeks or months to complete, you are working towards smaller goals that may only take hours or days to accomplish.  Plus, it is much more motivating when you can congratulate yourself on completing each step of the process and the end result!

First, think of a habit you would like to break and the reasons why you want to change. Then think of one or two small changes you are ready to make now to get started.

Let’s look at a few examples of common bad habits and small steps you can take to kick them:

Unhealthy Eating

  • Find a healthier version of one fast food item that you buy regularly and order that instead.
  • Replace one soda per day with water for one week, then the next week replace two sodas per day with water, and continue to replace one more soda with water every week.
  • Find a website that has recipes for healthy foods. Choose one recipe to try this week.
  • Try 3 or 4 healthier snack options. Choose your favorite and begin eating those instead of your usual snack.


  • Try to smoke one less cigarette than you usually do each day.
  • Find a quit support program online and enroll in it.
  • Look at your calendar and plan your quit date.
  • Calculate how much money you spend on cigarettes over a month and plan what you will buy with your newly saved money.

Now you try! What habit do you want to break?  What are the reasons why you want to change?  Which small steps are you ready to take now?


  1. Life Steps Foundation
  2. WebMD
  3. Huffington Post
  4. Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers

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