UNITED STATES—It is not easy ridding one’s self of a bad habit, but with continual trial and error things do get better. I’ve been on a mission to curb my desire to grab a soda or pop or caffeinated beverage (depending on what region you live in) for years. Things have gotten significantly better. I don’t see myself always wanting it, but it may happen once a week or every 2 weeks when I need that caffeine.

I’d argue it became a staple for me in college when I pulled those all-nighters and found myself trying to juggle the headache of doing 15 things at once. Was I drinking pop all day long? No, but I would make it a staple for me in the morning. It was the one thing that awoke me, especially considering that I’m not a coffee lover, tea possibly.

Of course, I’m well aware that caffeinated beverages tend to have loads of sugar in them, so any way that I can curb that bad habit I try. Nowadays, I’ve become accustomed to having caffeine in the morning because it gives me that boost of energy, but I try to limit things as much as possible.

I’ve learned how to curb the habit by disciplining myself; telling my brain no matter how badly I might want it, that I tell my brain it’s imperative I resist it for health reasons. I mean the notion of gaining weight, increasing the risk potential for diabetes a host of other health problems, helps keep me on track.

Another tactic I utilize to curb such bad habits is to exercise. I know it might sound crazy, but if you do something that takes your mind off something you’re thinking about, you stop thinking about it. I seriously think exercise in the perfect excuse to de-stress your life. Tough day of work, preventing eating unhealthy snacks, curbing a bad habit, exercise solves all those problems in my opinion.

Bad habits are not only geared towards not eating the wrong thing, it applies to things that you should be doing. Like overconsumption of alcohol, smoking, drug activity and a host of other things. When you get into dealing with things of such nature, therapy and seeking counsel will be imperative to curb those bad habits.

Am I saying someone can give up alcohol, smoking and drug paraphernalia cold turkey, absolutely, but I do believe it’s a bit tougher to do? The most important thing to acknowledge when one is attempting to curb a bad habit is acknowledging first and foremost that you have a bad habit. If you’re not willing to address it, it only becomes that much more difficult to curb it.

Denial is the worst thing, because it allows something to continue to fester and take shape in your life, even if you’d like it to cease to exist. It doesn’t help to be surrounded by things that can elicit temptation. I mean I’m a sucker for a cold, refreshing glass of Coca-Cola. Might not be a bright idea for me to place bottles of the refreshing drink in my cabinet or refrigerator. Same applies with cigarettes, wine, alcohol and drugs; eliminating people from your lives who might want to egg you on to participate in a habit you’re hoping to dismiss from your life wholly.

Curbing any bad habit is not easy. It won’t just happen with the snap of your fingers, but the more you fight to rid something that is plaguing your life, the happier you will be in the long run. Nothing that is worth accomplishing comes easy.