• Loren.M

4 Steps to Get Rid of Bad Habits

Updated: Sep 4



Habits are instilled into us and they form 40-50% of our daily behaviour; think about brushing your teeth or checking your email every morning, these are all habits that we perform automatically. Charles Duhigg and James Clear both wrote fascinating books on the topic, but why is habit such an important topic? Clear effectively states that “you do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems,” indicating that our habits stack up to determine our behaviour and whether or not we can reach our goals.

A negative habit can be detrimental to our goals, be it in fitness and health, work or relationships, but how do we get rid of a bad habit? Duhigg termed the idea of the ‘habit loop’, in which a habit has a cue, a routine and a reward and by shifting these components we can easily change our habits.


A negative habit can be detrimental to our goals, be it in fitness and health, work or relationships, but how do we get rid of a bad habit? Duhigg termed the idea of the ‘habit loop’, in which a habit has a cue, a routine and a reward and by shifting these components we can easily change our habits.


Step 1: Determine your Cue

For example; if you have a habit of snacking every night at 11 pm, you need to identify what triggers you fulfil this craving. Perhaps it’s boredom or due to your eating choices throughout the day. Similarly, if you find yourself browsing on social media every few minutes, your trigger may be interior or exterior such as hearing it vibrate. If this is the case, you can easily stop the trigger.

Step 2: Increase Friction Between the Action

Know that habits are created by the circumstances within that moment that encourage this behaviour. Therefore, to break a bad habit, you need to make it harder to accomplish it. This is done by changing little aspects of your environment, for example, placing your phone in another room when you work or storing unhealthy snacks somewhere you can’t easily reach. This means that you’ll need to make extra effort to satisfy the habit, which completely defies the idea of habits being unconscious. Moreover, this will give your brain more time to contemplate the negative task.

Step 3: Replace the Routine

We cannot always get rid of a bad habit, but we can replace it. If boredom is your trigger instead of scrolling on Instagram for hours, read a book or go for a run and listen to a podcast. If you snack late at night and it’s harming your fitness progress, try to sleep earlier or replace the snack with a healthy one. This will allow you to go through a routine and gain a much greater reward.


Step 4: Demotivate the Reward

Before falling into a bad habit, think about the reward and how it is usually brief and may even leave you with a feeling of guilt. One thing we need to realise is that changing habits doesn’t only mean changing what you do but also who you are and the way you see yourself.

I hope you enjoyed this article, let me know down in the comments what are some of your negative habits and how you plan to change them. Thank you for reading.



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