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Nearly everyone has a habit that they would like to kick. Whether it’s drinking less caffeine, to stop biting fingernails, stop overeating or to exercise more, the list goes on and on.

One of the reasons we have bad habits is because the behavior often feels good or serves a purpose. So, the goal of breaking a bad habit is to retrain the brain into not using the behavior as a reward.

First, you’ll need to identify the bad habit you want to break and why. Once you start on the path of trying to break your bad habit there are a few simple hacks that can be used to help you along the way. Reminders are another little hack you can use. Reminders can be used in several ways. You can set an alarm on your phone that rings once or several times a day to help you keep focus. You can enlist the support of a friend or family member to help remind you of your goal. You can use handwritten reminders, such as post-it notes around the house. Some people prefer more discrete reminders, like putting a little mark on their hand, for example, and whenever they see it, they remember the goal they want to achieve.

There are some physical hacks that can be used to break a habit as well. Techniques like tapping have been used with success. Tapping is the practice of tapping your fingertips on specific meridian points on your body. It’s generally used as a therapy technique to help with anxiety, fear and achieving one’s goals. You can use tapping to help you break a bad habit. One way to do so is, when you feel the urge or the trigger to perform the unwanted behavior, you score your urge on a scale from 1-10. Then, then you start tapping. After you tap for 30 seconds, you score your urge again. In many cases, the urge score has decreased significantly. You can repeat this process until your urge has decreased enough that you are able to move on in that moment without performing the undesired behavior.

Another physical hack used to catch yourself in a bad habit and curb it, is the rubber band method. You can put a semi-loose rubber band around your wrist. When you get the urge to act on a bad habit, you pull the rubber band slightly and let it snap back on your wrist. This technique is not designed to hurt. Its purpose is to remind and distract away from the unwanted behavior.

Breaking habits is not necessarily simple. But, these hacks will help you stay on course along the way, once you decide on your goal of breaking a specific bad habit.


Burnout recovery specialist, intuitive, and physician Dr. Veronica Anderson teaches high-performing professional women how to make successful career, health, and life transformations by overcoming challenges and developing resilience. She is the author of three bestselling books and splits her time between Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Harlem, New York City, with her husband and two dogs, Artemis and Apollo.