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Stop Your Bad Habits Today: 3 Simple Steps

June 5, 2012

Drink a pot of coffee each day? Head to the office kitchen each afternoon for a cookie? Indulge in dessert after every nightly dinner?

If you’re ready to quit your bad habit the secret to success is a lot easier than you think according to Charles Duhigg, author of:

The Power of Habit, Why We Do What We Do and How to Change It.

Duhigg says at the core of every habit (good or bad) is the same neurological process: a cue that triggers your routine (habit) and then a reward. Duhigg has three easy steps for curing any bad habit, and we’ve got to admit….unlike other self-help guru tips, these seem just as easy said as they are done!

Step 1: Indentify what the reward is—for example it isn’t the afternoon cookie, it’s more likely to be the socialization you get from getting out behind your desk and chatting with coworkers for a few minutes.

Step 2: Define the cue—right before you are about to engage in your habit there is a cue. This cue could be the time of day, perhaps you always get the cookie at 3 p.m. or a place such as the bakery you can’t resist going in each time you’re in the neighborhood.

Step 3: Make a plan—not to change the reward or the cue but the behavior. For example, each day at 3 p.m. instead of getting that cookie from the office kitchen, plan on taking a 10-minute walk with a coworker. The cue (time of day) is the same and the reward (socialization) is still possible. The big change is the routine; you’ve replaced your bad habit for a good one!

Photo Credit: Jet_Star via flickr.

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