7. Use alternative
English is a colorful language, but chronic cursers repeatedly use
the same, unimaginative words that have been around for centuries.
Take the time to develop your own list of alternatives to the nasty
words you now use, relying on your own intelligence, a thesaurus,
good books, and even some of the more clever TV shows. Select a few
powerful or even funny words, and get in the habit of substituting
them for swear words. For example, instead of B.S., choices range
from lie, fabrication, nonsense and exaggeration to bunk, baloney,
drivel, malarkey, hokum, hogwash and balderdash. They might not give
you satisfaction at first, but they will eventually.
8. Make your point politely.
Some substitute words can be just as offensive if your tone is abrasive
or you insult someone. Think of the response to what you are about
to say, and decide if you need to reword your statement to be more
effective. For example, if someone suggests that you are doing something
incorrectly, your response can range from "Who gives a flying f___?"
to "I don't care," to "It really doesn't matter," or "I think my way
is faster." The first reply is defensive, defiant, belligerent, and
reflects a terrible attitude. The last reply is a justification that
the other person might appreciate. Take the time to make your point
in a mature and convincing manner.
9. Think of what you should have said.
It is easy to blurt out a swear word at an inappropriate time, or
to bark out a tactless or tasteless remark before you have a chance
to consider the impact. Think of what you could have said. After you
shout an expletive, simply say the tamer word you wished you had said.
If you make a statement that you later realize was negative, confrontational
or rude, think of how you could have phrased the statement. Over time,
these exercises will train you to think and act differently.
10. Work at it.
Breaking the swearing habit might prove to be no easier that losing
weight, giving up cigarettes, or correcting any other habit. It takes
practice, support from others, and a true desire to be a better person
-- not only by controlling your language, but the emotions that prompt
you to swear. Here are a few exercises to condition yourself:
Think in clean language, and switch negative thoughts into positive
When you are on your way to a situation you know will test your
temper and your tongue, plan ahead what you will say and how you will
Tell your family or friends what you are doing, and you will
be more cautious around them.
Determine when and why you swear the most, and develop your
own tricks for changing your behavior.