How Can I Stop Persistent Bad Habits?

It’s Time to Take Action


Do you have a bad habit you can’t seem to shake? How can you stop a bad habit that seems impossible to tackle? Dr. Mike Emlet, counselor and faculty member at CCEF, walks through what we need to understand about bad behaviors and how we can take practical steps to stop these habits.


Mike practiced as a family physician for 12 years before joining the CCEF. He holds an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania as well as a Master of Divinity degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. He has authored Asperger Syndrome, Help for the Caregiver, OCD, Angry Children, and CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet.  



Mike used the example of picking your scalp to talk about persistent bad habits. Other nervous habits include biting your nails, popping your joints, grinding your teeth, or chewing on pencils. 

What is so bad about persistent habits? What are possible root issues behind nervous habits?
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Do you have a bad habit? If so, where and when do you do it? What do you think is the reason you behave this way? Anxiety? Fear? Boredom?
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Mike said that, to stop a bad habit, you can examine what the gospel says about the root issue behind your behavior. You can also decide what you will do instead if you catch yourself biting your nails or picking your scalp. 

What does the gospel say about the root issue behind your repetitive habit? What does it say about anxiety, fear, boredom, etc.? Does knowing what Scripture says about anxiety or fear change your attitude toward your habit? If so, how?
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What can you do this week to begin to stop a bad habit? What practical steps can you take, like wearing gloves, to consciously prevent a bad habit?
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Bad habits do not need to have a grip on you. Look for the root issue and use the gospel to counter the issue with truth. Tackle your bad habit by being proactive.  


This video is a publication of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). All content is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner without written permission from CCEF. For more information on classes, materials, speaking events, distance education and other services, please visit www.ccef.org.