Bad Habits Need Good Replacements 

Studies show that when we stop a bad habit, we need to replace that habit with something else—this helps explain why many people gain weight when they quit smoking. They replace smoking with eating. Or an alcoholic might become maniacal about running once he quits drinking. Replacing a bad habit with an equally damaging or worse habit is useless. If I broke my waffle-eating habit by eating chocolate cake or snorting cocaine, I would not be heading in the right direction. This is why bad habits need good replacements.

Once I identified coffee as one of my triggers, I actively sought to replace it with something else, at least occasionally. A Japanese friend recommended replacing coffee with a warm cup of water. Definitely not as tasty, but it was a healthy substitute that at least gave me the same feeling and warmth as drinking coffee on my “no coffee days.” Interestingly, research shows that women benefit more from this placebo effect (a warm cup of water as a replacement for coffee) than men. 

I still drink coffee on most days and eat waffles, but I no longer do it every day.  I wasn’t striving for perfection; I was striving for progress. Perfect is the enemy of growth and greatness. What’s one thing that you can improve today? What bad habit can you replace with a better one, not a perfect one? 




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About the Author: Erik Qualman

Often called a Digital Dale Carnegie and The Tony Robbins of Tech, Erik Qualman is a #1 Best Selling Author and Motivational Keynote Speaker that has spoken in 49 countries.

His Socialnomics work has been featured on 60 Minutes to the Wall Street Journal and used by the National Guard to NASA. His book Digital Leader propelled him to be voted the 2nd Most Likeable Author in the World behind Harry Potter's J.K. Rowling. Qualman is a sitting professor at Harvard & MIT's edX labs.

His latest book What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube is a Pulitzer Prize nominated work.
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