Last week, I spoke with Stanford behavior scientist and habits expert Dr. BJ Fogg on how to create a habit. In this episode, I discuss how to break the bad habits that hold you back.
The process of creating a habit is different from stopping or reducing that behavior. It’s not just doing the reverse. The idea of ‘breaking’ a habit sets up the wrong expectation. ‘Break’ implies that you can stop the behavior if you put in a lot of effort into a single moment, but that’s not how it works. Think of it not as breaking a habit but untangling the habit.
Most habits people want to break (e.g. snacking) is a combination of behaviors that you need to untangle. Snacking in the morning and snacking at night are separate behaviors. Start at the easiest knot and untangle that. Don’t work on the hardest one first. Many habits are hard to stop. But there is a systematic way that you can use to reduce these behaviors.
Behavior change is a skill. The more you practice, the better you get. Develop the superpowers you need to determine the future of your life.