If you've ever had to endure the taste of anti-nail-biting nail polish, or the tedium of gradually weaning yourself off sugary tea - you'll know that habits are hard to break. But it's not impossible, according to author David Kadavy.
First of all, we must understand what a habit is.
A habit, Kadavy says, begins with a trigger, which leads to an action, and then reward. Over time, giving in to the habit builds our investment in it. He uses checking Facebook as an example (because I guess some people might be able to relate to that).
The trigger is ‘a tingle of anxiety or boredom’ which makes you check Facebook. If you have a comment or message then that’s the reward. You’re invested to do it again because your friends and photos are on there, he writes.
Kadavy says the best way to break a bad habit and replace it with a good one can be broken into four steps. So if you’d prefer to have a habit of reading books, this is how you do it:
1. Reduce whatever's stopping you
If the thought of reading a book overwhelms you, think of reading it in tiny chunks.
2. Hijack your trigger
Whenever you feel the urge to check Facebook – or whatever your bad habit is you want to change – grab a book instead.
3. Replace your action
Kadavy says just start reading.
4. Commit to trying this for one week
Kadavy says your relationship with reading books will start to change.
And if that doesn’t work, he says, you can use electric shocks to help you quit your habit, like he did. Doesn’t look so hard now, does it?
(And if you want proof, Kadavy hasn't posted anything on Facebook in five whole days.Living proof.)