Saturday, August 11, 2018

How to Break a Bad Habit in 4 Steps

Guest post by Katie Rose

We all have those annoying habits that we can’t get out of.  Whether it’s biting your nails, smoking or overspending on clothes.  There are certain things that many of us do, sometimes without realizing, that have extremely negative impacts on our lives.

In order to break your bad habit, it’s predicted an individual needs between 18 to 254 days.  Of course, this is rather a wide time frame but with each individual having different strengths of willpower, it’s important to realize that accomplishment depends on the individual and the habit they have.

Even so, this post will teach you how to break a bad habit in four simple steps so you can achieve your goals.

Understand the Cause

For me, I have a tendency to pick at and rub the sides of my fingers.  This is due to having suffered from anxiety for a few years which has led to me constantly moving my fingers showcasing my “always on edge” behavior.

Knowing this, I understand that in order for me to stop, I must learn how to relax, cope with panic and give myself peace of mind.  To help with this I indulge in yoga, self-love through pampering and even painting my nails so that my fingers look beautiful and I become more inclined to look after them.

To find out why you started your bad habit, what triggers it and similar, ask yourself the following questions:
  • When does it happen?
  • What triggers it?
  • Where are you?
  • Who are you with?
  • How many times do you do it each day?

Set Rewards and Consequences

In order to stop yourself from doing something, you need to have some sort of consequence and reward system in place.  If you don’t punish yourself when you indulge in the bad habit, you’ll never feel as though you don’t want to do it.

As everyone’s bad habit will differ slightly, it’s important to set up rewards and consequences that are personal to you.  If you don’t like watching TV, setting a reward to watch an extra episode of your favorite programme to congratulate yourself, won’t work.

Make sure they’re related to your habit too.  That way the more you receive your reward, the more you’ll think about how far you’ve come and the more it’ll spur you on to continue breaking your bad habit.

Of course, once you’ve got your reward system in place, you’ll want to ensure you stick to it.  There’s no point spending time thinking of the consequences and perhaps doing it for a week until you decide you’ve had enough.

Replace it with a Positive, Do-Able Habit

In order to stop picking my fingers, I’ve tried to adopt the habit of painting my fingernails instead. This means instead of doing habit that makes my fingers look ugly, I spend time making them look beautiful instead.  Though, as the cause of my habit is related to feeling anxious, it’s hard to quickly get out my nail varnish and focus on painting my nails on-the-go.

Instead, I could adopt for filing my nails, reshaping them or using one of those handy, travel size nail buffers.  This will help me keep my nails looking great and plus it’ll fit in my bag or purse for when I’m on the go.

Be creative with the habit that’ll replace your bad habit.  Give yourself lots of options just like I’ve mentioned above with mine so that you’re more likely to adopt them and you don’t limit yourself. Make your new habit do-able and not confined to a time or place.

Do it with Someone

You don’t have to have the same bad habits as someone else but instead, agree to quit at the same time.  This will make you more likely to stay on track as you can support one another through the struggles and temptations.

You can also pair up your reward and consequence system so that you can reward one another and make achieving your goal, easier.  If you have someone perhaps giving you say 10p, for every time you don’t do the bad habit, you can physically see the reward and over time, the small financial gain can become a bigger gain that you’ll feel you’ve really earnt.

Of course, this all depends on the person who you’re teaming up with and each other's finances and so on.  However, the idea is there.

Be creative and see what you can come up with together that’ll mutually benefit one another and ultimately, help you break your bad habit.


Hopefully, you’ll have learned 4 simple steps in breaking a bad habit.  Even though this can take longer than expected for some and shorter for others, it’s important to take on board these fundamentals in order to give yourself a greater chance of quitting.

About the Author

Katie Rose is a Digital Marketer by day and lifestyle blogger by night.  "ok Kate" is her blog about herself figuring her life out, featuring posts on beauty, food, fashion, and travel.
Blog:  ok Kate


  1. They say it takes consistency to break and make any habit. Love this writing.

  2. I don't really have bad habits and it's great to know I have ways to cope with bad habits. Thank you for 5 great tips!

  3. Great advice . I have a bad habit of procrastinating. Need to be over that. lol

  4. That is such a great idea to pair up with someone to break bad habits together. That way you are accountable to each other and can encourage for better chance of success.


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