HOW TO BREAK BAD HABITS

     
Stephanie Abramson is a writer, editor, và researcher. Throughout her two decades in print and digital publications, she has served as research editor at Real Simple, Women's Health, Every Day with Rachael Ray, The new york Times, Shape, và TIME. Highlights: * Was reporter at InStyle * Was research editor at Real Simple * Was research chief at Women's Health * Was research chief at Every Day with Rachael Ray * Was reporter/researcher for special interest media at Meredith * Was a project-based writer and editor at Hasbro * Was editorial researcher at Columbia Journalism đánh giá * Was editorial reporter/researcher at Hearst magazines * Was editorial researcher at Consumer Reports, AARP, & Smithsonian magazine" data-inline-tooltip="true">Stephanie Abramson

Stephanie Abramson is a writer, editor, và researcher. Throughout her two decades in print & digital publications, she has served as research editor at Real Simple, Women's Health, Every Day with Rachael Ray, The thành phố new york Times, Shape, & TIME. Highlights: * Was reporter at InStyle * Was research editor at Real Simple * Was research chief at Women's Health * Was research chief at Every Day with Rachael Ray * Was reporter/researcher for special interest truyền thông at Meredith * Was a project-based writer và editor at Hasbro * Was editorial researcher at Columbia Journalism reviews * Was editorial reporter/researcher at Hearst magazines * Was editorial researcher at Consumer Reports, AARP, và Smithsonian magazine


Maggie Seaver is the digital health và wellness editor at Real Simple, with seven years of experience writing lifestyle và wellness content. She spends her days writing và editing stories about sleep, mental health, fitness, preventive health, nutrition, personal development, relationships, healthy habits, & beyond. She loves demystifying complicated health topics, debunking wellness fads, & sharing practical, science-backed solutions for healthy living." data-inline-tooltip="true">Maggie Seaver
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Why you might do it: You may be a visual processor. You like to be surrounded by a mess because it"s stimulating―and it reminds you to bởi vì your work. But it backfires since you waste time searching for things. Plus, it can really aggravate anxiety; a cluttered space can truly lead to a cluttered mind.

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How lớn break it: Separate papers into a pile you need lớn do & a pile you can think about doing. Use folders or boxes in different colors. "One of my clients has 12 clipboards hung up in her office: six for current projects & six for those she may get lớn later," says life coach Lynn Cutts. "She"s still being visually stimulated, but her stuff is organized." set up a system that works for you, and start with basic steps, like putting your keys in the same place every day. For more ways lớn keep clutter at bay, read the trăng tròn best organizing tips we"ve learned over the past trăng tròn years.


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Why you might vì chưng it: You have excess energy, perhaps from the surge in adrenaline caused by consuming too much caffeine or sugar, & it has lớn come out somehow. Just ask that pen you keep clicking.

How lớn break it: If you"re a large-triple-latte drinker, cut back. Khổng lồ control energy peaks & troughs, it"s also important to lớn get enough exercise & sleep. Và try converting the movement of your hands & legs into isometric exercises: Put your hands in your lap and concentrate on gently pushing your palms together. For your legs, place both feet flat on the floor và then push down. Bởi these subtle exercises until the need khổng lồ fidget subsides.


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Why you might bởi it: It's another oral fixation that serves as a security blanket when you're nervous or anxious.

How to lớn break it: Actually, a fast and effective solution khổng lồ busting this habit is khổng lồ switch khổng lồ hard candy—although that's not so easy on your teeth. If you really don't want to lớn give up gum, have a friend stop you every time she hears you doing it. When she points it out, keep smacking long enough to hear yourself & recognize how loud và irritating it is.

Pretend you're someone else who has khổng lồ listen (and watch) you smacking your gum. Not great, right? You might just be embarrassed enough lớn stop. When you hear yourself doing it, make a chú ý of it, & then stop. Every time you choose khổng lồ stop, your brain rewires lớn make not smacking your gum the default. Eventually, with a little effort, you won't bởi vì it at all.


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Why you might bởi it: You may have slouched when growing up because you were self-conscious or taller than others or developed breasts before your peers, và the posture stuck. Or you might just be tired & stressed (understandable).

How khổng lồ break it: Take dance lessons, Pilates, or yoga to lớn strengthen your deep abdominals & upper-back muscles (these muscle groups can grow weak when underutilized, but are essential lớn maintaining healthy, pain-free posture). Starting with a super-simple shoulder-shrug exercise―think of touching your shoulders to your earlobes―is an even easier way lớn combat slouching. Bởi 10 shoulder rotations forward and 10 rotations back khổng lồ bring awareness to lớn your posture & remind you to lớn stand và sit tall. Regular physical activity really helps combat the mental and physical fatigue that can contribute to slouching.


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The Habit: Phone Obsession


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Why you might bởi it: Don't be too hard on yourself—smartphones are purposely designed to lớn steal your attention & keep you hooked. Khổng lồ be honest, we're all starting at a disadvantage. But your phone fixation may go deeper: an irrational anxiety over not being able to kiểm tra texts, news, social media, the internet in general. You're petrified of missing something important or being left out. Or you've simply fallen victim lớn the temptation of instant và endless entertainment, information, & communication at your fingertips—and you forget khổng lồ actually look up, make connections, & just be.

How to break it: Giving up your iPhone forever probably isn't an option, but there are ways khổng lồ keep your screen time in check. Mix rules for yourself, such as: no phone at meal times (even when you're dining solo); keep your phone far from where you sleep; vị a time audit of how long you spend on certain apps; & summon the willpower not to look at it the minute you feel the urge or get a notification. If you need to, turn off notifications for the most distracting or enticing apps. Also, think of how unpleasant it feels lớn be with someone who would rather look at their phone than look at you, listen to you, talk to lớn you. That's how you make others feel when you whip out your device in the middle of a coffee date.


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The Habit: Nail Biting


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Why you might do it: This particular compulsion is often used khổng lồ derive comfort & relieve stress and anxiety.

How lớn break it: First, chú ý when you bite your nails, và what circumstances trigger your nail biting, and then try khổng lồ substitute another kích hoạt into which you can direct that energy. Low-hanging fruit might be to keep a bao tay ball nearby lớn play with when you feel the urge. Be vigilant about keeping your nails short và well filed. You can also try painting your nails with special polish that's meant lớn deter nail-biters. Wear gloves (yes, really). Splurge on manicures so you not only want lớn avoid chewing the bitter polish, but ruining a luxurious coat of màu sắc and clean set of cuticles.


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Why you might vì chưng it: You don't feel confident that you have the power to request something or make a change. As a kid, you probably whined when you didn't get what you wanted, & it paid off―but you're not a kid anymore.

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How lớn break it: As an adult, you're in for a rude awakening if you think complaining will get the same results. If your partner or friends say something about your whining, take note. Instead of grumbling like a teen, state what you want by making a direct (but polite) request. For example, instead of ruining an evening out by complaining that you got stuck at a table next khổng lồ the kitchen, politely ask the waiter khổng lồ reseat you. If you can't bởi anything about it—or aren't willing to do anything about it—it's not worth griping over (so don't).


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Why you might bởi vì it: You try lớn take the focus off your own flaws by exposing those of others. But a person who gossips by habit doesn't truly believe they're good enough on their own. Gossiping can also feel really good in the moment—to vent about someone or something, to bond with friends or coworkers, khổng lồ make yourself feel better.

How lớn break it: Become exceptionally attuned to what you choose to lớn talk about. Use your conversations to chia sẻ your experiences, such as discovering a new restaurant or your latest vacation. Brush up on current events, music, TV shows, or sports lớn give you something else khổng lồ discuss besides other people. If the topic moves toward talking about other people, make an effort to say only nice things about them (or neutral, if you can't think of anything).

Plus, you never know who could be in earshot of your conversation. If you're complaining about a coworker, be aware that her best friend might be the woman directly behind you on the train. Gossiping also makes you seem untrustworthy. You may even thua kém friends và professional contacts when people realize you're a gossip.


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Why you might do it: Your parents, who were probably perfectionists, had high expectations. You define yourself by what you do và how well you vị it, yet nothing seems khổng lồ get done.

How lớn break it: Train yourself lớn care less. Yes, really. Deliberately bởi a poor job when performing a small chore―one that has no professional or personal impact, lượt thích doing the dishes or making the bed. You'll start to realize that the consequences aren't so dire. Mix time limits for tasks, & use an alarm. There won't be any room in your schedule for that "one more thing" to lớn make it perfect.

Finally, just for fun, vị something you actually don't excel at. Take a drawing class, even though you didn't get the family's doodling gene. Play a trò chơi of shuffleboard, despite never having played before. Don't keep score, just try to enjoy learning something new. It's kind of nice lớn have the pressure off when no one (especially you) is expecting you khổng lồ be perfect.


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Finally, if you have a nagging habit that isn't on this list, know that you have the full ability và agency to break it. Many of the above tricks apply khổng lồ a variety of habits. Here are five fundamental steps to lớn quashing problematic behaviors, courtesy of Cherry Pedrick, RN, coauthor of The Habit Change Workbook, a step-by-step program rooted in cognitive-behavioral techniques.

1. Know when your habit shows up. Identify habit-prone situations. Record how often và where it presents itself.

2. Know the consequences. List the advantages & disadvantages of keeping—or changing—your habit.

3. Know an alternative behavior. Develop a competing (better) response that you can employ instead of falling back on your old habit.

4. Know your goals. Make a plan with short-and long-term goals, và reward yourself when you reach them.

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5. Know you are human. Don't beat yourself up if you fall back into your old ways. This is a natural part of change và can take several attempts khổng lồ get into a good groove.