How To Break Your Bad Habit

How To Break Your Bad Habit

*This episode is supported by Blue Apron.* We all have habits we’d like to break, whether it’s biting your fingernails, smoking, or eating late at night. But why are these habits so hard to break? Perhaps you think your day is made up of deliberate, conscious decisions, but in reality, a University of Duke study found that 45% of your everyday behaviors are actions that you repeat every day and tend to do in the same location. These are your habits. Habits are attributed to one of the most primitive structures in your brain, the Basal Ganglia, the same region that helps control processes such as breathing and swallowing. In an MIT expiriment, a mouse sits behind a gate of a T shaped maze where to the left is a piece of chocolate. When the door clicks the mouse explores the maze, sniffing and scratching at the walls. First it explores to the right and then to the left, eventually finding the chocolate. A scan of their basal ganglia shows it’s working furiously throughout the whole processes. However after a week of training, the mouse runs immediately towards the chocolate once the gate clicks. At this point, there’s very little brain activity once the gate clicks, and the brain doesn’t fire back up again until it reaches the chocolate. Our brain seems to minimize effort and space, and this kind of automatic brain behavior is referred to as “chunking.” Chunking aids in creating a new habit pattern in cells of the brain. It’s like a task you do everyday that you no longer have to really think about, brushing your teeth or backing out of your driveway, skills that were once difficult to master, but now become automatic. This process is a three step loop. Step 1 is the cue which for the mouse is the click of the gate; Step 2 is routine, run through the maze, and Step 3 is the reward, in this case, chocolate. Cue and reward eventually intertwine, creating anticipation and cravings, another essential part of habits. Because we go into automatic mode during routines, our brains stop fully participating in decision making. Our habits will automatically unfold every time there is a cue. these habits can be so entrenched that the reward doesn’t even have to be good. A study of habitual popcorn eaters at the movies found that they were minimally impacted by hunger or how much they like the food, and they ate the cinema popcorn regardless of whether it was stale or fresh. Our habits often overrule what we know is good for us for example, a study of America, “Take 5” campaign encouraging citizens to take


  1. My bad habit is trying to repeat things I read in my head like for example reading a book and sometimes I skip back to the words I read over just as I get to the second line under the first one

  2. So I'm 17 yrs old and stopped smoking cigarettes (haven't smoked for 3 days, smoked before that for about a year) and I would go to smoke inbetween classes but I've stopped going out bcos I dont smoke anymore
    I wander maybe its the socialization i get in front of the school that im missing or the nicotine
    So would it be bad or good to go outside and not smoke or bad bcos it could influence me to smoke
    Sorry for the long text

  3. I bite my nails when I am anxious, I don't understand why. It usually my thumb skin with the nail. I use to smoke and now I don't cuz I shake my leg when I feel mad. :/

  4. I know this sounds kinda fake or whatever, but I seriously recommend blue apron. I am apart of a family of four so each night we take turns making them and they are very delicious. and they have different choices of time! You can pick ones that take 30 minutes or one that take 45. Blue apron sent a delicious recipe for spaghetti and it has been a hit at party’s ever since.

  5. My nail biting habit has gotten so bad that I've started biting my fingers to the point where I will bleed. I've had to carry Band-Aids around with me for a while now

  6. i have a habit of smelling my comfort item, a fluffy blanket, and sucking on my bottom lip. ive had this habit for years amd dont think ill ever get over it.

  7. i have a bad habit of breathing, it seriously just wont go away! Everytime i stop breathing i pass out! please send help! 🙁

  8. My bad habbit is sleeping way too much,and other horrible things..but thanks 4 the vd guys it was soo good

  9. I hope this will break my habit of ending conversations like in the hall like if I say blah blah blah and say But I will do this!

  10. my bad habit is chewing off the skin of the inside of my cheek . it then turns white cause of the moistness i suppose & just looks nasty & feels nasty .

  11. I pop my pimples, i cant stop lol and people say popping them is bad and can cause more acne to im trying to stop

  12. I stopped bitting my fingernails because I got braces so it didn't work, and now I just can't, even if I try.

  13. sugar fast food and caffeine is my worst habits but even if i got a setback in this weekend i hope to take control over it son 🙂

  14. I just listed: The Land of Steady Habits: A Novel [hardcover] Thompson, Ted [Mar 25, 2014], for $13.99 via @amazon

  15. This has nothing to do with the video at all but the ad that played before this was about weight loss and the guy in it was hot asf

  16. The way I broke my habit of biting my nails is when my kindergarten teacher told us not to bite our nails and I was the only one who listened

  17. I have a habit of turning my neck and hitting it against the under of my neck ….. I have no idea how I developed this habit but it’s causing me horrible pain and discomfort

  18. Kids would rather coffee according to their body
    They hate coke.
    Lol this is just a weird thing

  19. Had that book on my "to-read" list/bookshelf for so long. But because of my tower of babel that is my "to-read" list, haven't been able to finish it.

  20. So I think this is considered an addiction and am desperate to do anything to get rid of it. So during the day, when i’m doing stuff, i’ll do it once in a while but when i’m about to sleep i have to do it because I have this feeling. Anyways, I have to let out a little bit of pee every few seconds when i’m trying to sleep and once I do let a little out, the feeling doesn’t go away and I can’t sleep because of this. Please help me!

  21. Notice the urge.
    Get curious.
    Feel the joy of letling go and Repeat! Here's an effective guide i use every day:

  22. My worst habit is masturbation I'm trying every hour day months year to stop it but without any result my biggest record was 21 days… So I will keep trying GOD help me 🙏

  23. Sometimes I don't even want a cigarette but it's a excuse for going outside to socialize cuz in too shy to go talk to people without having a reason besides wanting to talk.

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