Breaking Bad Habits: Part 1


I believe that most of us want to be the healthiest and best version of ourselves. It can sometimes be frustrating when we continue to do ‘bad’ habits when we don’t want to, and struggle to stick with our ‘good’ habits even when we know how important they are. This blog series aims to help you understand why this is the case, and to give you some useful tips for breaking those bad habits and sticking with the good ones. Today we will focus on breaking bad habits. 

It’s important to know that the terms good and bad can mean different things for different people but for the sake of simplicity I will use them in this post. 


Some tips for breaking bad habits… 

1.Make it invisible

Often the bad choice is the obvious one that’s right in front of us. Our environments are surrounded with cues to initiate our bad habits. Open the cupboard, and the first thing you might see is that snack you are trying not to have. Sit down on the couch, and the television is staring back at you waiting to be turned on. We often need to reduce our exposure to these cues. Some suggestions are to hide food in a less obvious spot in the cupboard or face the couch away from the TV (or sit in a different chair).

2.Make it unattractive

We might know that something isn’t necessarily good for us, yet often it’s still an attractive option because we choose to think of it that way, and it probably gives us a sense of short-term satisfaction. Instead of viewing the chocolate bar as relaxing and delicious tasting, you need to re-frame your mindset and highlight the benefits of avoiding eating this, such as how it makes your body feel or the health consequences. This can sound silly at first, but our mindset is incredibly powerful – do you really think you will want to stop your bad habit if you still think it’s an attractive thing to do? Probably not. 

3.Make it difficult 

Similarly to point number one, the reason we often choose the bad option is because it is the easy option. Fast food is often much easier than buying food and cooking, staying at home is often much easier than going out to exercise. To overcome this, you need to increase the number of steps between you and your bad habits. Put your snack item up in the highest shelf where you have to get a step to bring it down. Log out of social media and even delete the app between use – you will find you are much less likely to mindlessly scroll before even realising you are on there. 

4.Make it unsatisfying 

Bad habits are satisfying when they make us feel good and are celebrated. Getting an accountability partner, or someone to watch your behaviour can make all the difference to negatively reinforce the behaviour. You can also make the costs of your bad habits public and painful, such as putting money in a jar that your family members can see when you do the behaviour. You can get quite creative with this, but make it as unsatisfying as possible to perform that habit. 


Look out for our post next week with tips for creating good habits. 

Tamika Hassum 

Accredited Exercise Physiologist 


I learnt about habits and gathered the above information from the incredible book Atomic Habits by James Clear. If you want to learn more, I highly suggest you check it out: