• Hadley Tarantino, M.A.

How to Cut Back on Vices

Updated: Apr 16


1. Publicly announce your plan for abstinence.

Struggling with an addiction to television, online shopping, or tobacco? Let your friends and family know your intention to cut back. They can help hold you accountable to your goals.


2. Make a plan to meal prep instead of ordering takeout every night.

Take time to write down easy meals you used to enjoy and create a grocery list for ingredients in those meals. Planning meals and having the ingredients readily available in your kitchen can help cut back on spontaneously ordering food for delivery.


3. Analyze what prompted the lapse.

This means playing detective and going back in time right before you lapsed into alcohol, binge watching television, or buying that expensive (but unnecessary) item online. Figure out what your mood and thoughts were right before you engaged in your vice and start to connect some patterns. Are you feeling stressed right before you pick up the remote control? Next time when you notice this feeling, have some other healthy options available to hopefully avoid the vice.


4. Get rid of temptations.

Remove items in your home that you associate with your vice. Better yet, surround yourself with cues for effective behaviors. Break associations by creating new patterns. For example, if you always turn to binge watching television right after dinner, create a new activity following dinner to break that association.


5. Make a list of pros and cons of stopping addictive behaviors.

Are you having trouble putting down the cigarettes to manage your stress level? Make a pros and cons list of smoking to manage stress. Decide if it is a long term or short term pro or con. Many times this can help avoid addictive behaviors by looking at all consequences.

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