Swearing is awfully good fun, and in some ways, it’s even good for you. However, it’s not always proper in the presence of polite company, and as we all know, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. So if you’re trying to cut back on cussing, here are a few tactics you can try.
1. Ask a friend for help.
We’re often blind to our own bad habits, so you may want to enlist a friend, spouse, or family member to hold you accountable. Any time you let a curse word fly, have them point it out to you. They could clap, call out a code word, or make a sound any time you utter a profanity. The more you start to recognize your patterns of speech, the easier it will be to change them.
2. Find some replacement words.
Consider this a fun challenge to boost your vocabulary. Sure, you could say “fudge” or “frick” instead of the other f-word, but you don’t have to limit your speech to such unimaginative niceties. Try on some of these old-fashioned swears for size, like “Well, dad-sizzle it,” “What in thunderation,” and “Great horn spoon!” You’ll sound like Ron Burgundy from Anchorman and might even get a few laughs in the process. Plus, the more ridiculous you sound, the more incentive you’ll have for nixing your need to swear altogether.
3. Pretend like your grandma is listening.
Of course, some of the sassier grandmas swear like sailors, so this trick might not work for you. Still, it’s helpful to think of someone you wouldn’t want to offend with your potty mouth, whether it’s your stern aunt, a pastor, or the kids in your family. The next time you’re about to swear at the referee on your TV screen, picture this person sitting next to you on your couch.
4. Train your brain to think differently.
It’s okay to slip up now and then, but immediately after you realize your mistake, ask yourself what you should have said instead. Say the preferred word out loud, and over time, “these exercises will train you to think and act differently,” according to the Cuss Control Academy.
5. Get out the good old-fashioned swear jar.
This tried-and-true method works because it hits us right where it hurts: in the wallet. Any time you swear, get out a crisp $1 bill and stick it in the jar. Set a goal for yourself—say, two weeks with no swearing—and let the swear jar serve as a testament to your journey. After reaching your goal, you can use that money to buy yourself a nice reward. Alternatively, if you're more motivated by punishments than rewards, you could promise to give that money to your least fiscally responsible friend.