Today’s part 2 How to Break a Habit focuses on multiple ways how to change your bad habit and let go of it for good. Don’t forget to check out the first part of this blog.  In that blog, I talk about what causes bad habits and how to become more aware of your unhealthy routines.

How to change our habit:  The Take Action

The best thing is to replace the bad habit with a good habit.


Have a plan in place when boredom or stress hits.  If you are trying to quit smoking, have mints or gum to reach for instead. 

If you are procrastinating, on writing, for example, spend five minutes writing. Put a timer to help you get through it and know you can quit when you are done.

If you bite your nails, learn how to practice something like EFT instead.

Get your triggers out of the way.  I eat it if it is in the house. I don’t bring it.  Your environment makes your bad habit easier and good habits more challenging.

Do the AND. I am overweight right now AND I could lose four pounds in a month.  Accept where you are and know you can change. 

Have a partner in crime.  Support can really be crucial.

Find people who inspire you and what you want to do.

Visualize succeeding.  Mind over matter. Our minds are incredibly powerful.


Write it down. So you can really see it and the steps you need to take.

Fine yourself.  Have a swear jar. Have to cook dinner if you smoke.

Go slow and make tiny changes one step at a time. Becoming overwhelmed and biting off more than you can chew will not help you.

Plan for when you skip up. We all fail. We all mess up, what is your plan for when it happens? When you eat the pint of ben and jerry’s chubby hubby do you beat yourself up or do you go take a walk and go to the store so you have a salad for lunch tomorrow?

Suggestions from Science

I found an article from CNBC from January and here were some scientifically proven suggestions. They back up some of the suggestions I previously mentioned.

Your amount of willpower depends on your thinking about willpower. If you think there is no limit to the amount of willpower you have, then there isn’t. You can turn yourself into Rocky by convincing yourself that self-control works. That mind over matter thing again.


By becoming very mindful about what you are doing and why you are doing it, you can interrupt the existing feedback loop that keeps a bad habit going.

By digging into the experience of our bad habits, we are more likely to understand why they are bad for us and become less interested in acting on them.  Curiosity gets us out of fear-based, knee-jerk habit patterns.

Saying “I don’t” is empowering and suggests a self-imposed decision. Using “I can’t,” on the contrary, suggests being constrained by external forces.  My brother does not allow his kids to say I can’t which I think has been a wonderful thing that he has done.

Using “I don’t want one” when refusing dessert, makes you more successful in the long-term resisting temptation.

Seen variations on how long it takes to break a bad habit. Probably a minimum of 21 days and usually takes 66 or so days to form a good one. Be prepared to put some time in to change your bad habit.

How can you use science to break a habit? What changes do you need to make? What healthy habits can you incorporate to help you make changes? Who can support you?

Creating Rituals to Clear Clutter From Your Life
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Take Actions from the two blogs on releasing bad habits:

  • What bad habit do you want to release?
  • Become aware of your bad habit.  Then When, Who, Where, What, and How
  • Pick a few of the suggestions mentioned to change your habit.
  • Record your progress to mark how far you have come!

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