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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How to break a habit

In his new book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains that just by recognizing them, you can change your habits.

Personally, I have a nightly habit of a glass (or two) of wine. At first I was like, it's cool, it's European! But I've realized that as soon as Toby goes to bed—ding, that's my cue—I immediately expect that crisp glass of wine. Duhigg shows how to snap out of your routine (and this week, I've just had water).

Do you have a habit you want to break? Doesn't everyone?

(Via Swissmiss)

92 comments:

Sammantha said...

love it - thanks for the share!

sammantha
www.dysfunctionaleverafter.ccom

PS - who doesn't love a good glass of wine? :P

HiLLjO said...

I had a bad habit of plopping my butt on the couch after coming home from work (sitting on my butt) so I stopped. I started walking, then I tried Youtube yoga videos. 2 weeks later, I have a new habit instead... and I feel great instead, too! Thanks, Joanna!

Laurencapri said...

I have the wine habit too. I stopped for a few weeks to make sure I could and now I'm back to my very European habit!

Joanna Goddard said...

haha, maybe it's a fine habit...but it's like my mouth literally salivates like pavlov's dogs :)

rebecca said...

dessert! er, every night. dessert it great and all, but everything in moderation. thanks for the tip. :)

Lauren said...

What a cute and inspiring little video! I think my worst habit is negative thinking...now I'm trying to figure out what "reward" I get from it...

Macey said...

Harper's Bazaar ran a great article sometime within the past 2 years about non-problematic dependent drinkers, essentially meaning they had gotten too used to the habit of needing a glass of wine, say as they're cooking dinner, and had come to need it every night. It was written by a mother who chronicled her efforts in trying to break the habit of having two (or three!) glasses of wine every evening. You should check it out!

ElsaD said...

Darling! I am SO working on quitting my nightly 'glass-or-two' of wine. For those who always say 'there's nothing wrong with one glass of wine,' I have this little theory: 'it's never JUST ONE glass of wine.' I started for just not buying it...and try to leave it for the weekends. The moment you don't have it for two nights, you need is much less!

xoxo

Marissa said...

This is great. I need to break the habit of daily afternoon goldfish snacking at work.

Stefania said...

Mine is chocolate. I was the same way as many people are with wine. The kids would be tucked in, I would immediately go to the fridge to break off a piece. I had to stop keeping it in the fridge.

Kelly R said...

I say "dude" a lot. Way more than a 30 year old woman should. The other night, the guy I'm currently dating asked me to stop calling him dude. I was sad at first, but now I think it might be a good idea to try to break the habit.

katilda said...

i like the idea behind this video....however, my bad habit is having a cluttered room. i'm not sure what my "reward" is for that.

s.L. said...

I had a pretty bad habit of biting my nail skin but after I got braces, that habit got kicked in the butt!

Janae Wise said...

Bad habit: eating late at night! I just get the munchies after I put my kids in bed & want comfort food. I don't drink alcohol, but food, definitely is my wine.

stephanie said...

I have the terrible and very annoying habit of interrupting people. I don't even realize I'm doing it. I'm working on it, though :)

JCross01 said...

I'm a nail biter through and through! Will definitely watch this tonight.

Kerri Lynne said...

I have a few habits I'd like to break, but smoking tops the list.....

sumslay said...

Oh, I'm so with you on the wine! My friend and I did a challenge where we would pay ourselves $1 every day we went without having alcohol. Joanna - it was a wake up call for me. In three months, I only had one back to back day, and more often than not, it was a full 7 days a week! Also, *not one* of those days that I actually did get a dollar came naturally. I'd have thoughts like, "Well, in 30 minutes it'll be midnight, so technically today...." Coo coo, i tell you!

Now I'm much better, but I do wish i liked to do "stuff" more. Lying on the couch zoned out is my favorite hobby. :( Wait, think that and wine are related? ;)

Anonymous said...

When someone tells me a story I always comment on something similar that happened to me, but I think it might sound as if I am trying to compete or distract the attention from their story.
I really try to be talkative or empathetic but I think I create a different feeling, so I am aware of that now and I stop myself when I am about to do it. Just being aware helps!

Alyssa English said...

I just broke my nightly glass (or 2) of wine habit about 3 months ago! I have a tea instead & wake up feeling much more refreshed.

Jesse said...

i have the wine habit too, although i've started to break it. hope i can keep it up and make the wine more occasional. thanks for sharing.

Sage Crown Parker said...

i love this.
i can't get over the fact that one cookie a day (or lack of) he lost 12 pounds, that's amazing! i'm trying really hard to not eat past every day and i would like to stop looking at Facebook (so unfulfilling.)
i love starting new habits too.... this month has been the elliptical :)

::The Beetle Shack:: said...

great to read this - i also am guilty of the nightly wine off- but I've been trying to switch to tea. It's surprising how quickly the desire changes!

xo em

p.s but the wine is great, right?

Nisha said...

I've got toooo many habits that I want to break.
Even if I know the cues, the routines, and the rewards, and everything else ... I really can't get myself to break the habits.
One, for example, surfing the internet all day without getting anything productive done.
I'm supposed to be doing a job search instead, or studying GMAT, or doing anything but aimless internet surfing and wasting time.
But it's just so much easier to do that, I can't help myself :D

Beatrix said...

Wine is my habit too, and I've tried to make a conscious effort to change it. The funny thing is, it's more in your head than anywhere else. The first day is the hardest, then afterward you realize you sleep better without a couple of glasses of wine sloshing around.

Opposite lipstick said...

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gia said...

Love this! My escape is to watch reality tv and drink a cocktail or two... the reward is absolutely the escape. But I find it in a good book too... I still need to create some other ways to escape though.

Lexie, Little Boat said...

my older brother bought this book for my younger sister as a high school graduation present. she kinda groaned at it, so i'm thinking about "borrowing" it from her when we're all together at christmas! great video!

Reem | Simply Reem said...

My sweet tooth makes me eat something sweet after every meal.. Bad Habit...
Thanks for sharing this video..

Mary said...

Macey, do you recall the title of the article you mentioned or have a link?

Thanks!

hello, Friday said...

It's in my reading list. xoxo
http://www.hellohellofriday.com/

Sofia said...

Really! I can't understand why you think "nightly habit of a glass (or two) of wine" is "European".
I'm european, I've always lived in Europe and I don't know anyone that does that!

Don't get me wrong.... it's just that americans have very romantic ideas of things we don't do at all!

Rosa said...

Dear Jo,

I love your blog, it is one of my favorite spots on the internet. There is one thing that I have read a few times, that annoys me a little. May I tell you what it is?

You sometimes refer to something as "european". Here it is the habit of drinking wine in the evenings.

The only things that Europeans really have in common is the continent they live on. Sure, there are similarities in the culture of the scandinavian countries and people in Belgium and the Netherlands probably eat similar things for breakfast.

And drinking wine in the evening is for sure common in Mediterranean countries.

But it is NOT a "european" thing. There is not such a thing as a typical european culture.

I know I sound like a boring teacher (or even worse: a mean wiseacre. But for me as a Portuguese married to a Norwegian living in Germany it really annoys me when Americans refer to any random thing that they know about France, England or Sweden as "european".

Europe consists of 47 countries. The difference in lifestyle between these countries is huge. Luckily!

I know it makes things easier to assume that all of Europe is one large cultural area. But it is not!

natalie said...

I'm having my daily "it's after 5!" glass of wine as I type this... I have a hard time breaking habits that were created as a reward. But there are plenty of other things I definitely need to rid of, like buying something I don't need just because it's "on sale."

tifsong said...

brilliant.
i need to quit drinking soda. seriously. i hate being addicted to caffeine. having a headache because i haven't consumed it for the day is so crappy!

Anonymous said...

Why do you think so many Europeans age well?

Anonymous said...

Have that glass, girl.

E. and Baby P. said...

actually, i would love to start a habit, the habit of exercising!
as far as breaking habits, i've already done two. stopped smoking and drinking soda every day.

Angela Brinkley said...

My habit is coffee : ) I think the word "habit" has a negative connotation, whereas, I am perfectly happy with my coffee habit...in fact as a stay at home mom...a coffee a day is my salary, and for a raise, I may order a frappacino : )

Olga said...

I second Rebecca on dessert. I grew up in Russia and we had tea and dessert after every meal. A meal is never complete without dessert to me!

As for wine, I'm pretty sure I have the opposite for your habit. I love to cook, but drinking has never appealed to me. I've tasted wine and it tastes repulsive to me. I envy all your guys' developed palates!

dani press said...

i feel like i've heard or read this in a newspaper before? but it was awesome to get a little video clip, because MY O MY does he have a point. thanks for sharing! xo.

Anonymous said...

I have this crazy habit of cleaning my earlobes with alcohol and cotton every morning. Just as some people can't get out of home without wearing a watch or putting on make-up, I can't go out without cleaning my earlobes!

suchitra said...

hi joanna,
i have been reading ur posts for the past few months but have never commented so far. just wanted to say what a sterling job u are doing. i love reading ur posts. whether i agree with what is written or not.....u are a interesting person who has varied interests and that shows. thanks.

sev2108 said...

Top five bad habits:

1) online shopping
2) drinking
3) over-sharing
4) allowing myself to get distracted at work
5) online shopping

*sigh*

Rosy (of Raindrops on Rosy) said...

Biting my nails!!! I know, its horrible, but its so hard to stop!

Elisabeth said...

Mine is something sweet after dinner... and the reward is something sweet after dinner. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed when he got over his cookie habit by talking to friends. But anyway... I'm trying to break the habit by having a cup of tea in the evening as my something after dinner. Good luck with breaking your habit! It's hard!

Jessica Sliman said...

Oh my, I completely understand. As soon as I put my girls to bed, I also salivate like Pavlov's dog until I get my nightly cocktail or glass of wine. I've kicked this habit a few times...but after reflection, I've decided that I don't really want to kick it after all! Two kids two and under. That cocktail is my medicine ;)

tiffany of camp1899 said...

this is such a good read, i loved his easy and precise pinpointing of habits and cues and rewards.. that drink at the end of the night can be a hard one to give up, good luck! xo, t.

Caroline said...

That is very similar to the spiritual/Eckhart Tolle philosophy of simply watching your thoughts being the key to taking away their power. Apparently awareness is all it takes!

Krista said...

You should try drinking sparkling water instead - I put mine in a wine glass so you have the feel of it without the wine. Much better for you (I sit and drink an entire bottle and feel healthy great not wine great!)

Scout and Rice said...

I get you - it's not about the wine exactly, it's about the fact your body feels that urge for it at the same time every day. Just like a smoker.

For me it's sweet foods - after every meal I start to crave something sweet, even just a sugary tea. Hard habit to break!

Jennifer of JennySue Makeup said...

I tried to quit the "it's 5:30 somewhere happy hour mentality" a few months ago but realized that it was only replaced by multiple rounds of cookies and ice cream breaks instead. I'm going to revert back to my 2 glasses of wine. Not such a bad (fattening!) habit after all!! All about moderation right??

lou said...

but do you think that's a bad habit, having your daily wine?

JenWood said...

I had a similar habit not too long ago: Every day, I'd come home from work and have a cocktail, a beer or a glass of wine. It was just one, mind you, and even two wouldn't have been "bad," but I soon realized I was pretty much pouring a glass without thinking and using it as my only stress reliever.

So. My husband and I started making mocktails - very simple mocktails. Grapefruit juice or cranberry grape juice and soda. Things like that. AND, I drink them from our tumblers or wine glasses. And believe it or not, that's just as satisfying and still feels like a treat.

Thanks for your posting and great blog! I love it.

Brett Elizabeth said...

I'm reading this book now and loving it!

Amielle said...

Mine is that I stopped exercising. As soon as I get my new bathing suit, I'm hitting the pool before work.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that white wine... I think I might mix it with perrier and make it into a (watered down) spritzer. great post.

Mama in the City said...

Mine would be COFFEE!!! I come to expect it right when I wake up. That is fine, I am totally okay with a morning coffee...but I plan my day around fetching a perfect cappuccino from the local coffee bar in the afternoon. I need to get over it. It's expensive, my body could use more water and less caffeine for sure.

Perth day spa said...

I'm so quitting being lazy. It's a bad habit of mine. I'm gonna be productive from now on.

Anonymous said...

I'm "european" and lately I've been thinking that maybe the late night dinner + wine combo is not such a good option. But then again, there is nothing more fun and relaxing than a nice (delicious) dinner and wine with your husband or friends after a long and exhausting day. So I'm not so sure I want to break this habit. I guess acknowledgment is good enough for me, for now.

Anita

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esther said...

I´d rather be an alcoholic than reading a self help book.

loveless said...

great post, the description of you getting the wine made me laugh...particularly because it's the description of me as well, except the fact that i don't have a baby to put to sleep and that a glass or two are two or three in my case. it's not that i am overly worried, i like to enjoy after a day at work (that's my excuse), it's just that somehow i feel empty if i skip that comforting routine and that one glass of wine seems like nothing to me. have a good day!

Stephanie said...

A couple of people here have mentioned some interesting things about "European" habits (and the fact that there is so much variation among Europeans and European countries). I spend a lot of time in Italy as my partner is Italian, and one thing I've noticed, at least around his friends, is that the wine is only a complement to a meal (and I believe there is research showing that the benefit of red wine may be in part its ability to break down red meat in the stomach). They don't seem to pour wine and sip as they're cooking, or just sitting around the house unwinding, etc. My boyfriend in fact and his family don't drink much at all, i.e. the wine comes out at Christmas and Easter dinner, or when there are guests. His dad, who was a doctor in the south of Italy for more than 50 years, never drank. I used to pour a glass of wine a few nights a week after I got home from work and was on the Internet. I enjoyed the ritual, but I also broke the habit because I was concerned that it wasn't a very healthy way to live.

Jeanette said...

I admire people who nip things in the bud before they're actually a problem...good-job! ...Honestly...Sugar is my bad habit/addiction, and I've just GOT to break it!

Shelley said...

I love this! Usually at about 3:30 I leave my desk (I work from home) and go to the kitchen. That's my tired time of day. It's like clockwork and I snack on whatever's around..usually olives but sometimes something more dangerous, like banana bread! ahh. I gotta stop! I think I will try a brisk walk to perk me back up.

l.c.s. said...

This most made me skip my glass of wine last night! Thanks for that!

Lauren
http://blog-arita.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

This is really interesting! Thanks for posting.

Samantha Green said...

i have that exact habit! will be watching this video when i get home --thanks for sharing :) xx

Wahzat Gayle said...

My 4pm cup of tea! I could miss it (because I needed it not to be a can't do with out habit) but I prefer not to miss it.

Meredith said...

What's hard about breaking the wine habit for me is that I look forward to it so much. During my day, I will picture the moment when I'm finally alone, relaxing and unwinding. I think it might be a bit hard if I didn't have that to look forward to!

megan said...

I too have the habit of a drink once my son is in bed. I know I feel much better in the morning when I skip it. I realize it's a habit that needs to be broken :(

Cecile said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cecile said...

Thank you for this post! I feel less alone.

I too reach for the bottle of wine for a glass (or two) once my twins are finally in bed.
It feels like a reward, something that soothes me and helps me get rid of stress after a long day of work
as a mom and a writer in NYC.
However I decided last week to have wine (or beer) only on the weekends. And it feels very good to drink water weeknights (although I am French).

Now if only the guards at Rockefeller Park could not pay attention to our friends and my husband and me sharing Rose on the grass on weekends, that would be more pleasurable for all of us.

Lara Kristin said...

This is so awesome! So funny, I broke the nightly glass of wine habit only three weeks ago. It's just too easy for one glass to turn into two, and wine gets expensive! And I'm pretty little- two glasses of wine =tipsy for me.

I still sometimes slip up, but I buy so much less wine now and I sleep better, too.

Now I need to change my "looking at the internet before I start writing for the day" habit. I hope the same technique works!!!

Jessica Wray said...

I need to break the bad habit of wandering around the kitchen when I'm bored... this could help! Thanks for sharing!

dc said...

My nephew read this book and quit smoking about a month ago! Must be a good book, I'll have to borrow it to try and quit my dessert habit!

fridayfika said...

such a great book, and i love this clip with the author - time to analyze some of my own habits

Trista Larson said...

I was addicted to diet coke! I didn't realize that it was making me sick, the aspertame was giving me headaches! I stopped drinking all soda, and feel great- even lost weight (wasn't trying to). It was hard at first- but I am SO glad I did!

Trista

www.worestories.blog.com

Cecile said...

Lara, I need to break that "looking at the internet before I start writing for the day" too!

Anonymous said...

Gads! Don't deprive yourself of a simple glass of wine based on (another!) self-help book!

Anonymous said...

I had a 2 glasses of wine each night habit for a looong time. I never questioned it or considered it a problem. About a year ago I decided to quit drinking altogether to sort of clean the slate and observe my habits. It turns out that I no longer want to drink at all! I wake up clear-headed, I feel better overall, and I lost at least 5 pounds within the first few months. It's amazing now for me to see how alcohol oriented our world is. I'm not against anyone drinking, but wow, it is so interesting to be an observer rather than a participant. Whenever we have dinner with friends I make up my own special drink (usually some sort of sparkling lemonade with a sprig of rosemary) and bottle it up in a pretty bottle. It turns out that everyone ends up wanting my special drink instead of the wine! Do what feels right for you, but being aware of our habits is pretty powerful.

A.Co said...

Ack!

I bite my nails :S and have stopped a couple times... but always go back.

ABAgirl said...

Breaking a habit is hard but anyone can do it with principles of behavior analysis. You've gotta find those things that compete with a glass of wine (such as reading a few pages of a good book, listening to relaxing music, etc).

Or, you can always slowly decrease the amount you're drinking per night until you're drinking none. Going cold turkey can be hard!

Good luck!

Mindy Day said...

I love my habbits, they are treats, I dont see why I should deny myself?

Nataliya said...

I love myself a glass of night after the kid's bedtime!! but I've been trying to break the habit by drinking a cup of tea. The tea helps, and I feel healthier in the process.

Thanks for a great post.

Serena said...

Dude...now I want a cookie! Gah!

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Anonymous said...

I agree with the lady who remarked on the "European" topic.

Europe is more than just Italy, France, Spain and the other 2-3 countries that most Americans would visit on a 12 day tour.

Ever heard of Rumania? Liechtenstein? Latvia? Austria?

I am Norwegian and I think in my whole childhood I maybe saw my parents drinking wine five times. Beer? Every Saturday! My French husband grew up with a bottle of red sitting on the kitchen table for most meals. He had his first glass when he was fourteen. We are both European.

How come all people I know are aware of the fact, that the USA consists of more places besides for NYC, California and Florida, but so many Americans are pretty ignorant about other continents? Is it your schooling? Your media?

Puzzled: Svenja

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