• Ryan Wilson

How to break a bad habit

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We have been talking about habits and creating healthy routines, so how do you break bad habits?

Let’s get right to it, let me break it down-..

  1. Be AWARE of when you engage in the bad habit

  2. BE CURIOUS about what function or pay-off it currently serves

  3. Create a REPLACEMENT BEHAVIOR, preferably one that is incompatible with the one you are trying to break


So if my bad habit falling asleep with the TV on, I must:

  1. Notice when I am most likely to do this- ie. when I am upset or stressed

  2. Be curious about what my pay-off is- ie. it distracts me from getting stuck in my head, I get to avoid my feelings about the things that are stressing me out

  3. Create an incompatible replacement behavior- ie. using Progressive Muscle Relaxation meditation before bed instead


Another example may be being unkind to myself, beating myself up.

  1. Notice when I do it- ie. when I am upset or hurt by other people’s actions

  2. Be curious what the pay off is- ie. I don’t have to deal with being mad at them or sad

  3. Create an incompatible response- ie. being compassionate with myself that I learned to protect others more than I learned to take care of or even acknowledge myself


To make your success even more likely, use external reminders of WHY it is important for you to break the habit!

Reminders of your values and the deeper meaning behind what is important to us serve as powerful motivators that help us persevere when things are difficult.

Here is a quick and easy video to help understand the process of breaking bad habits.


See you next time!

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#ASAPscience #breakingbadhabits #replacementbehaviors #ACT #Values

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