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How To Break Bad Habits in 3 Steps

Whether you're trying to give up midnight snacking, shopping online, or surfing Instagram at work, breaking habits is hard. About 40% of our behaviors are repeated almost daily, and usually in the same context. We tend to eat at the same times and places, exercise and go to work at the same times and places. Unfortunately, you can’t change a bad habit overnight, but there are three simple steps you can take to pave the way. 

According to Wendy Wood, a social psychologist at the University of Southern California and author of “Good Habits, Bad Habits: The science of making positive changes that stick”, breaking bad habits involves making new, GOOD habits. Here’s how:

1. Ease up:  If something’s too difficult, you simply won’t do it. Depending on your goal, fill your pantry with healthy snacks, turn off your social media notifications, or sign up for a gym near your office. It’s all about making the choice to “do better” easier.

2. Make it enjoyable:  You’re not going to repeat a behavior that you don’t enjoy. And you’re not going to form a habit for something that you hate. So, find a way to make it fun. That could mean stopping by a favorite smoothie bar after a morning run or watching TV while you complete a dreaded task, like running on the treadmill.

3. Repeat regularly:  It takes 66 days to make a simple habit change. So, if you miss a day, don’t panic. Just get back to your new, good habit as soon as possible.