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Habits themselves can be almost impossible to eliminate from our lives, whether they are good or bad. Habits have the following sequence: signal, routine, and reward. This routine allows us to understand that habits begin when a signal is created to start the routine, which refers to the action we perform to obtain the reward. For instance, a person who constantly bites their nails, or he or she just does it unconsciously, is mostly because he or she may be nervous and out of this situation, a bad habit is evolved. This act satisfies some people, but to certain ends, it could negatively impact them as well. Thus, this satisfaction may signal the brain to continue doing it or going back to your old bad habits. In this pattern, feeling nervous is the signal, constantly committing the bad habit is the routine, and the feeling of satisfaction or relaxation is the reward they obtain.  


1. Identify the signal: what is causing the habit?

Find out why the habit is reoccurring. Whether someone or something is triggering it, you should be able to identify the bad habit to find the solution. It is also important to learn to accept the problem to know when you need to start acting to achieve your goal. 

If you fail, try again until you have mastered or limited your bad habit.

2. Practice a new routine

You must understand that the problem will not fade away; meaning, the signal will not change, nor will the reward. Thus, the routine must change to begin changing the habit. Some habits stay the same, you just need to learn to control it. Maybe you can draw, write, play an instrument, or anything that will help you change that routine to achieve the same reward without any harm. If you are having trouble changing that routine, seek help, as many places are willing to help. 

3. Write down your progress

Writing down your achievements will help you keep track of your progression, and you can look back at the ways you attacked the habit. If you see that you messed up a few times, do not be discouraged, and just see it as a lesson or a place where you need to practice more. Remember, habits cannot change on their own, and you must start acting upon it. 


To change bad habits, you have to attack the routine. To be able to change bad habits, you have to identify the signal, practice a new routine, and write down your achievements and goals. Seek additional help if you are having trouble identifying the problem or changing the routine, but it all begins with you wanting to make that change. 


HI there! Paola is a senior at Wesley College who is majoring in English and minoring in Writing, and hopes to write for a living after college. Some of Paola's interests include writing, reading, watching horror and comedy films, traveling, and eating. Find her on Instagram as @_paolaap_!
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