Bad habits. Everyone has them (yes, even me!). I pick my cuticles. And I’ll be the first to admit- it’s not appealing. Far from it actually. It can be painful, but mostly it is just gross. Not only to me, but to those around me.
I realized just how gross when I saw a not so charming boy taking part in the same not so charming habit during a lecture and my friends pointed out that:
a) Yes, I look like that too when I pick/bite
b) We are destined to be together because we share the same nasty habit.
Whether it is nail biting, throat clearing, being chronically late, talking too loud on your cell phone etc- we all have that one (or eight) habits we just wish we could break. But sometimes we really can’t help but take part in our bad habits. Kind of like when we couldn’t help but text that guy last Saturday night at 2am, even though we said we were sooo done with that.
Sometimes bad habits are just really hard to break.
So before you make that New Years Resolution to not oversleep or stop cracking your knuckles, here are three steps to actually help you achieve that goal.
1) Make It Conscious. Many times, we do these things without thinking about it. Like when we are bored in class or stressed in the library etc. So figure out when and why you take part in your habit(s) of choice. If you realize when/why you are doing it and can attribute what you are feeling that is driving you to do it, you will have an easier time finding a way to stop.
2) Put It in Writing. Just like most dieticians will suggest you write down what you eat so that you are aware that you “accidentally” ate the large chocolate cheesecake because you were feeling lonely, same goes here. Put down the situation you are in along with the emotions surrounding the nail biting (or other habit). Take notice to what is going through your head when you do it. This will help make you more conscious of it and help you curb how often you do it.
Also, write out a pros/cons list of this behavior to make you more aware of why it’s such a bad habit in the first place!
3) Bait and Switch. After you figure out the root cause of why you are biting your nails/chronically coughing etc try to find a not-so- annoying temporary replacement for it. (Nail biter? Try gum! Knuckle cracker? Try sitting on your hands or doodling in class). Other experts suggest meditation. And if that doesn’t work?
Put a large rubber band around your wrist. Every time you are aware that you are taking part in your bad habit… snap that bad boy against your wrist.
Have any of your own tried and true tips for breaking a bad habit?
Leave them here!