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Realistic habit-breaking tips from science


Minimize bad habits


By Aditya Shukla, Psychologist and founder (Cognition Today)

Find ways to go away from cues and triggers, so it’s easy to suppress an urge.

1. Remove yourself from the cue

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If you want to give up bedtime scrolling, keep your phone on silent, so notifications don’t cue you.

Routines are automatic and easy, so by adding interference or making the routine difficult, the habit is not initiated as easily as it would’ve been.

2. Make the habit routine difficult

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Don’t buy a long charging cable so you cannot sit with your phone for too long.

Your environment has a dozen cues for your habit. Changing the environment, removes all cues and gives an alternate activity.

3. Change the environment

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Start working on a desk instead of your bed to reduce the habit of scrolling Instagram for hours.

Social approval is powerful. By being with people who you care about but disapprove your habit, you are likely to reduce it for their sake.

4. Be with people who disapprove of your habit

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Hang our with people who don't need a drink in their hand all the time.

Acknowledge what long-term damage are you causing for short-term gain.

5. Focus on negative consequences

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Focus on feeling tired when climbing stairs to start exercising regularly.

Start an alternative habit when you feel an urge to do the old habit.

6. Use an alternative habits to seek similar rewards

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If you shopping too much to get new things, try to make something new.

Imagine yourself do your habit. Now physically do it in reverse.

7. Bonus: Reverse-trace your habit

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If you drink too much coffee, make the coffee, have a sip, and spit it out, or pour it slowly in a sink.