Bad Habits: How to Break Them and Create Good Ones

Posted by Annie Keough on December 29, 2021


As 2021 comes to a close, you may realize you've developed some bad habits you'd like to break for your New Year's resolutions.

Habits form by constantly repeating an action, and it takes the same amount (or more) of repetition to break them. A 2010 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology stated that breaking an unwanted habit takes an average of 66 days, but can vary anywhere between 18 to 254 days.

James Clear, a behavioral psychologist, found that habits develop through three steps: reminder, routine, reward. Understanding these three Rs makes kicking habits far easier.

Bad habits can range in severity, from nail-biting to smoking and drinking. Luckily, the remedies to kick unwanted habits generally follow the same guidelines. Here’s a few tips on how to kick bad habits:

     1. Identify your triggers/cues. 

This tip falls under the reminder step of the three R’s. Keeping track of your habits and what’s happening when you partake in that habit can help you identify why you participate in them.

For example, if you are trying to quit smoking, pay close attention to your daily routine. Take note of when you usually go out for a smoke or if other people are involved. Taking note of daily habits makes recognizing triggers easier. In our smoking example, the trigger may be work breaks or social events.

  •      2. Replace it with a good habit.
  • Cutting off a habit completely from your routine can be tricky, so instead, try switching it out with a good habit. Instead of staying up scrolling through your phone before bed, replace it with reading a book or listening to a podcast. 
  •      3. Have an accountability partner.
  • Breaking a habit takes time and consistency; you may fall back into your old habits every once in a while. Having someone else with you who understands what you're going through can help you stay on (or get back on) track
  •      4. Give yourself rewards.
  • Rewarding yourself for following your goal can reinforce the value of that goal. When you replace a bad habit with a good one, reward yourself with something you enjoy so that your brain begins associating something pleasurable with your new habit. This reward doesn’t need to be anything extravagant; a snack you enjoy can be the perfect incentive.
  • Wellzesta

Wellzesta encourages all users to be the best versions of themselves and give them the tools to do it.

Wellzesta Life offers residents the chance to engage in healthy habits by offering physical and intellectual events and wellness content to keep them occupied. Users can also set wellness goals and earn points for things like going on a daily walk or reading an article to keep themselves on track.

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