What’s in Habit

A habit is an acquired behavior that has become so automatic that it is difficult to break. You may have “good” habits or “bad” habits. A bad habit is one that has unfavorable consequences for you or others.

Let’s face it, we all have at least one bad habit. Swearing, nail biting, knuckle cracking, gum smacking, and the list goes on.

No matter what your bad habit is, you can control it by being more aware of it. if someone can draw your attention to it whenever you are doing it you might be able to figure out why you are doing it and be able to stop. “Log it,” says Janet L. Wolfe, PhD, a clinical psychologist in New York City. This will help you establish a baseline, she says. “Put down the antecedents, the emotions surrounding the knuckle cracking and what goes through your head when you crack your knuckles,” she says. “This will make your bad habit more conscious.”

The next step is to set up some sort of a “fine”, say 50 cents. This will make you feel that this habit costs you something, and will make you less inclined to repeat it, or at least not that often.

Another way to deal with bad habits that annoy others, is by giving them some sort of compensation. Inviting your coworkers for a pizza could offset the negative effects your bad habits may have caused them, and make them less irritated the next time you swear or bite your nails.

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