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One mental trick to help you break a bad habit

👵 Tip: Tell yourself you can restart the habit when you’re 80.

In quitting smoking, Better Humans editor Terrie Schweitzer shares what worked for her: Reassuring herself that she could pick up cigarettes again when she turns 80. (She is nowhere near 80.) The reason why this mental trick was so effective has to do with identity. “I was grieving the loss of my identity as a smoker and the overwhelm of trying to make such an inconceivable life change,” Schweitzer writes. “This little practice of reassurance helped get me push through that, until I no longer needed a way of coping with that pain.” If you’re struggling to break a bad habit, you might try finding your own way of keeping it a part of you—just not the right-now you.

🔗 More from Forge on breaking habits that aren’t serving you:

The Bad Habit That Even Productive People Keep Falling Into

Why Telling Yourself ‘Don’t Think About It’ Makes Bad Habits So Hard to Break

How to Unpack Your Bad Habits the Next Time You Move

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A publication from Medium on personal development.

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Michelle Woo

Michelle Woo

Author of Horizontal Parenting: How to Entertain Your Kid While Lying Down (Chronicle Books)

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