How to Avoid Saying Bad Words

Swearing is an easy habit to pick up, and a hard one to break. But if you are serious about cleaning up your language, it can be done. Read below for help on how to avoid saying bad words.


Method 1 of 3: Become Self Aware and Plan

1.Recognize why you want to stop.
Using bad words can reflect poorly upon you. In many circles, people who swear are seen as uncultured, uneducated, unrefined, immature or worse. On the internet, swearing can you get you banned from all sorts of social sites. Additionally, if you are using swear words directed at other people, you may be seen as a bully, unreasonable, or abusive. So there are many reasons to get your language under control. Take a few moments to consider why you want to quit, and how getting your language under control may improve your relationships and public image.

2.Notice when you curse.
Figure out your triggers and bad habits. Get a notebook and a pen, and spend a week noting your cussing. When do you curse most? Is it around certain people, at certain places? Notice what are your environmental triggers. Is it when you are traffic? When you have an irate customer on the line? Is it when you are stressed, frustrated or angry? Write down the words and the situations for a week. This will help you become aware of your behavior, which is the first step in changing it.

3.Enlist help (optional).
Tell some trusted, kind friends and family that you want to stop cursing and enlist their help. Ask these people to tell you when you cuss.

  • If you do this step, realize that you will be getting critiqued. Decide ahead of time, if you can handle this kind of feedback. If not, skip this step. But if you do enlist help, make sure you do not get mad at your helpers for critiquing your cussing – after all, they are only doing this to help you.

Brainstorm other ways to express yourself.
At the end of your observation week, spend an hour going over your notebook. Brainstorm alternatives to your cussing. Figure out other, healthier ways to express your feelings.

  • Instead of saying “#@$% the management!”, say “I am really frustrated with the management right now” or some equivalent. Note how much more powerful and better received your thoughts and feelings are when you do not cuss.
  • You can also substitute more neutral words like darn, rats, crud, oh man, lame, shiz, sugar, shoot etc. in place of your normal cuss words.

Method 2 of 3: Start by Making Small Changes

1.Start small.
Start to change your ways, but start small. Picking a small manageable task is the best way to form a new habit [1]. Pick one place, one situation to improve in. For example, you may choose to start by no longer cussing while driving, or in front of your nephew. Just pick one situation, and spend the first week avoiding cussing in that one.

  • When you (or your helpers) do catch a cussing in this situation. Apologize and rephrase the sentence without any bad words. This may seem awkward, but practicing talking without cuss words is the only way you will get better.

2.Punish yourself.
Consider creating a swear jar. With a swear jar, every time you swear you put a dollar in. Now, to make the swear jar really work, you need to really hate losing that money. And losing a dollar here or there just isn’t painful enough emotionally to be a real deterrent. Especially if you give that money to a friend or a favorite charity. Instead slate the swear jar money for something you really hate, like a rival political party. If you are Republican, make a commitment to donate all swear jar proceeds to the Democratic party. If you are Pro-Choice, make a commitment to donate all swear jar proceeds to a Pro-Life group. Now that will really make you clean up your language.

3.Reward yourself.
When you meet your goal for that week – for example, no swearing in front of nephew – reward yourself with something: a night out, a movie, a good book, a massage.

Method 3 of 3: Continue Adding Challenges and Practicing

1.Expand your challenges.
Once you have succeeded in cleaning up your language in one situation (say in front of your nephew), add new situations week by week.

  • For example, if you successfully did not cuss in front of your nephew all week. Next week do that, and do not swear when near playgrounds.
  • If you are not successful at your first goal, then that means your challenge was too big. Make it more manageable. Instead of never cussing in front of your nephew, make your goal smaller. Such as, “I will not cuss before 8 am”, or “I will not cuss at the drive through window”. Pick a time frame and situation that you know you can do, then expand the challenge from there, week by week.

2.Practice patience.
The key to success is to pick manageable situations and time frames to improve in. It will take time but slowly you will ease out of the cussing habit. It may take years before not cussing becomes your new habit. Self-improvement is always difficult but undeniably worth the effort.