The Easiest Way to Quit Bad Habits

After my first round fight with fear, I know I have two cognitive distortions that enhance my anxiety: Mind reading and over-generalizations.

Mind reading is a cognitive distortion where the person (in this case, me) automatically assumes what the other person is thinking about them. My brain says, “Well I’m sure that she doesn’t approve of that comment.” before she even stated her opinion.

Over-generalization is using one specific situation and making it apply to make a wide generalization about something.

It probably stemmed from having some tough experiences in my past. Then, I realized that it really became a powerful anxiety monster that creeps up whenever I speak to people, especially strangers.

So in order to stop these two habits, I decided on creating an experiment that would help me stop that way of thinking.

The 30-day Quitting Bad Habits Experiment

For one month, I’ll put a quarter in a jar in two instances.
-Every time I say something that overgeneralizes certain things I will put a quarter in the jar.
-Every time my brain exclaims an assumption to someone else’s thoughts, I’ll put a quarter in the jar.
At the end of the month, I’ll donate it to charity.

You could adapt this to any bad habit.

-If you wanted to stop eating badly, then you could force yourself to put a dollar (or any monetary amount you think it fair) in the jar for every time you eat something that has sugar in it.
-If you wanted to stop being shy around people, you could put a dollar in the jar everyday you don’t talk to someone for a minute or so each day.

The easiest way to quit is to penalize yourself with money to get you motivated to actually quit those bad habits.

As of midnight, I’ll have started the experiment. I’ll give you an update when the month is up.

If anyone else wants to stop their bad habits with me, leave a comment below to have mutual accountability. Or if you’d rather share it with me privately, e-mail me at 30vanquish [at] gmail [dot] com or give me a direct message on twitter.

Matt Ramos
Matt Ramos

Each person can have their own value. As the total cash value has risen towards a significant amount I could feel it slowly working. However, I do know that $20 each time is a good way to break a bad habit right away and try to correct it asap. But for this specific habit of mine, I feel gradual steps are better.


Matt, I'm reminded of a book I've read - "The Four Agreements", by don Miguel Ruiz. Specifically the 2nd agreement : "Don’t take anything personally" "Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering." These words have been so instrumental to me in my own journey. Wishing you much success in this - and loving how you are so openly exploring FEAR here on your site...