Break a bad habit this New Year

New Year, new beginnings series: Is your New Year’s resolution to get rid of a bad habit? We have some tips to help you prepare for your new beginning.


Break a bad habit this New Year

We all have a bad habit that we want to get rid of, be it biting our nails, smoking, or mindless snacking. If you’re making this the year to kick your habit, health psychology lecturer Dr Ben Gardner has these tips:

  •  Keep a daily record of how often you do the unwanted behaviour.
  • Make a note of the situation when the behaviour occurred. What time of day was it? Where were you? Who were you with? How did you feel? You may notice a pattern in when you are doing the unwanted behaviour (for example biting your nails when watching TV).

Dr Gardner suggests that we “make a note of what you do but also the environment in which it happens” to give us an insight into what triggers the behaviour- the situation, activity, time of day and company, and will allow you to anticipate these situations and alter your behaviour accordingly. So if you find that you bite your nails whilst watching TV, why not take up knitting whilst watching your favourite programme to keep your hands occupied? 

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