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Let’s face it, we all have bad habits. From being glued to our smartphones and watching too much TV to smoking and eating too much junk food, our habits can often impact our everyday lives in unwanted ways. If you’ve decided enough is enough and you want to put an end to your bad habits, we’ve got advice on the best ways to break them.

How can I break a bad habit?

1. Change your lifestyle or environment

Over time, carrying out the same behaviour in the same place can trigger the same habit.

One study[1] at Duke University showed that people who bought fast food from a certain place or at a certain time of day kept buying it, even after deciding they wanted to stop.

Top Tips: If you normally smoke whilst driving, keep cigarettes out of reach in the car. If you enjoy chocolate in the afternoon, keep it in a different place so you can’t see it.

2. Use Money Motivation

If you’re trying to break a habit, using money as an incentive could help you stop it for good.

Evidence[2] shows that people who promised to pay cash if they didn't meet their weight-loss goals lost more weight than those without a monetary incentive. This can work for any behaviour you’re trying to change, from eating more healthily, stopping swearing or missing the gym.

Top Tip: Keep things simple with a money jar or set up an account you can transfer money in and out of.

3. Get it down on paper

Saying you’re going to do something and actually doing it are two very different things, especially when you’re talking about breaking a habit.

Solidify your intentions by writing down which habits you’d like to break on a note on your fridge, mirror or somewhere you look at regularly.

If you’re reminded of your goal every day, you’ll also be reminding yourself of an achievement which will in turn boost your self-confidence and hopefully help you on your journey to breaking that bad habit altogether.


Find out how you can start a new, healthier habit: 5 easy steps to form a new habit



[1] https://dornsife.usc.edu/assets/sites/208/docs/Neal.Wood.Quinn.2006.pdf [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3298019/

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