Dopers who kicked a bad habit – are you scared it will come back?

I recently stopped being lazy. For about one month I have been accomplishing exactly what I tell myself to accomplish. This past month was probably the most productive month out of all my history. The thing is that I don’t want it to end, but I’m terrified that I might go back to my old lazy ass self.

Anyone else have the same fear? It does not have to be about becoming lazy again. It can be about becoming an addict again or about becoming a total jerk again. What do you do to prevent the habit from coming back?

I really believe in the adage, one day at a time. Every day that you DON’T indulge in your ‘habit’, whether it be smoking or laziness or whatever means you are one day better off. Try not to be afraid of lapsing, just chalk up the ‘successful’ periods and give yourself a thwacking great slap on the back for your goodness. That reinforces your resolve much more than fear does.

I quit smoking cigarettes about six times, over the course of forty year. The last time was in 1993. I was never afraid that I would go back to smoking, but I did, five times. (This time “feels” different, and has lasted a lot longer, so I am pretty confident.) I quit smoking other noxious herbs after 25 years, but it took 10 of those years after I quit buying it to really stop. I was always afraid of going back to that habit, and I did a lot. I had to get all new friends before I really was able to quit.

I decided to establish new housekeeping habits when I moved into my current apartment a year and a half ago. The place is a wreck. Oh well.

I decided to change my fiscal habits about ten years ago. I now have zero debts, and savings equal to about a year’s income. I also have credit. I don’t use the credit, but I have it. I have never felt tempted to return to the habits that I used to have.

So, for me, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.


Anyone else?

I don’t know if scared is the right word. I acknowledge the fact that I have an addictive personality (smoking, overeating). Even though I stopped smoking over 15 years ago, there’s always that niggling voice that suggests that I have a puff. I’ve never given into the voice, but it’s never completely gone away, either.

So scared? No.
Respectful of the power of addiction? Yes.

I don’t feel my comfort eating will just ‘come back’—I choose everything I eat and sometimes I choose a cookie. That’s okay. Mostly, I don’t choose a cookie.

I was going to say “not scared, just respectful” but that’s not true.
I can have a beer or glass of mead if I’m careful (and start late enough at night), and a smoke or two while hunting, but I am afraid either one of those habits could come right back if I ever allow myself to relax.

I’m not at all worried about becoming a total jerk again, since I’ve never stopped.

I stopped smoking several times; once for 12 years. Now it’s a little over 900 days since my last cigarette. I’m terrified that I’ll get complacent and start up again.

The first few times I tried to quit smoking, I was terrified of starting back. And because I was so scared, I needed a way to cope. You can see where this is going.

I quit smoking for good last July. Next month it will be a year for me. And it’s different this time, because I’ve changed my outlook. I’m not a smoker who is trying to stay quit. I’m a non-smoker now. Period. Have I had a cigarette since I became a non-smoker? Once or twice while having a drink with friends, yes. But I wake up the next day feeling awful, and I don’t beat myself up about it because, well, I’m still a non-smoker. I think letting myself accept a slip-up now and then, and realizing that it doesn’t erase what I’ve already accomplished helps make me less anxious overall.

So, in your case no matter what the future brings you know you have the ability to be as productive as you want to be. Don’t let yourself be too afraid of slipping, because even if you do you can always get back on the wagon. And next time, it won’t be as hard because you’ll know what you’re up against. Practice makes perfect.

You can’t be afraid to fail. It’s going to happen, eventually. So long as you understand and accept that, it makes it easier to recover from it.

I used to get very horrible tempers. I knew they were bad, but I didn’t think about trying to change honestly until I got to about 15-16. When the whole “hey, girls!” stuff started, I realised, hang on, if I get a girlfriend and then hurt her because of these rages, i’d be no better than any wife-beater you hear about occasionally. I would be that guy. So it sort of scared me into actually trying hard to change, and now (while I still get them on occasion, if i’m really stressed) I make sure I don’t take it out on other people at all, even just speaking harshly. So yes, I’m still very scared that I’ll “relapse”, to the point that i’m very wary of myself being mean at all.

Quit hard drugs over seven years ago and cigarettes for over a year now. I am done with both. Absolutely no desire to do either nor do I even think about them. Right now, I’m trying to be a vegetarian (one week and counting) but will see how long that lasts.

I quite smoking an 1983 (2-pack per day habit). Except for the occasional (easy to resist) longing when I find myself in a bar, I’ve never worried about re-starting.

I suffer from the laziness disease too - may I ask how you quit?

What about writing yourself something inspirational now, while you’re enjoying the “high” of your success, or even jot down some advice for when you DO feel like you’re slipping?

Err, do eating disorders count? That’s the only bad habit I can think of that would apply to me. Back in Jan '05 I was 201lbs, and while that may not seem so bad on a person who’s 6’1, it was all fat-- not muscle or definition. I made a choice to drop the weight and get totally buff. It, ah didn’t really turn out that way. I became bulimic and addicted to exercise and by August '05 I was down to 116lbs.

I’m back at a healthy weight now. But still, whenever I look in a mirror I can’t help but think about how gross I (seem to) look and I’m afraid that one day I’m going to start doing it again. Also, let this serve as proof that men can get eating disorders.

I quit chewing my nails, and just last month, chewing and picking at hangnails. It’s a pretty insiginficant thing, so to say I fear lapsing is a bit of an overstatement, but I really hope I don’t, because I’m growing a little vain about my well-shaped fingernails and intact cuticles, and I’m kind of like a non-smoker, in that seeing people chew their nails absolutely disgusts me now. But I figure if I quit once, I can quit again.

I’m also in the process of overcoming the laziness problem. Every once in a while I catch myself thinking, “Man, I can’t wait until I have my degree and I can finally relax,” and I have to kick myself and remind myself that I am building new habits for a lifetime. Finishing my degree is my short-term goal, but after that I have a new job to go to, and I will probably be even busier than I am now, so it is crucial that I practice good work habits now and get myself into “the best shape of my life” for the fall.

I’m getting to the point where slacking off causes anxiety instead of relaxation in me. If I have a bad day and don’t get much done, I really beat myself up over it because I don’t see it as one bad day, I see it as the start of another slide into oblivion. However, when I get done beating myself up, I try to redirect myself to the tools that I use to keep myself organized and motivated, to remind myself that I learned how to shape up and be productive, and now that I know those skills, I merely have to apply them.

I had one bad semester where I dropped my GPA .1 point away from losing my financial aid. That was sort of a reality check for me. I thought that if I kept slacking off I would never end up where I want to go in life. To keep myself from slacking, I often remind myself of the grades that I received that semester. A 3.0 might be good for some people, but for me it is a total failure and a waste of my potential. I know I can do better; I was averaging a 3.7 before that.

Also** Podkayne’s** attitude is remarkably similar to my attitude now.

For me, “scared” isn’t the right word either. After about 27 years of life experience, I can with absolute and total confidence say that I *will *return to all bad habits I quit. That includes smoking, procrastination, laziness, Mini Putt 1, coffee, internet porn, self-loathing, as well as stuff you don’t really want to know about. Then I’ll quit again. Then I’ll go back. Rinse, repeat.

I have tried three times to stop biting my nails/cuticles. Each time I get a hangnail or have a super stressful event occur and I go back to biting. I have been able to curb back the biting lately, and I am about to start attempt #4 later this summer. I know that I’l relapse into biting at some point after I stop, but I always hope that this time il be able to keep my nervous energy in check and let it out someway different than biting nails.

I quit smoking over a year ago, for the first time in my decade of having been a smoker. I’m sure I will smoke again. I hope I won’t, but if I stay sure, I might not. If that makes sense.

I don’t know if you have a method that you plan on using, Tamryne, but what worked for me was carrying a wee tin of cuticle moisturizer at all times, so that if I found myself messing with my cuticles, I would immediately stop myself and apply the moisturizer. That seemed to scratch the “itch,” without being destructive. Also, if I got a really bad hangnail and the urge to bite it or pick at it was just overwhelming, I put a bandaid over it until it healed.

Good luck with the ongoing battle with laziness, Lakai. Thinking about it a little bit more, what I’m really worried about was that I was actually going through a bout of depression during my “lazy” period, in which case, if it comes back, then all the productivity books in the world won’t keep me on top of things. But I guess forewarned is forearmed, and if I’m really slipping, I will have to finda a Caring Professional to talk to. But whaddaya wanna be that I’d just procrastinate on making an appointment until I was catatonic?