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Say Goodbye to Bad Habits in 4 Steps

Listen to Best in Wealth Podcast Episode 211

What are your bad habits? When I finally climb into bed at night—I grab my phone and start scrolling. Before I know it, 30–40 minutes have passed. Looking at screens right before bed negatively impacts sleep, yet I continue to do it. So in this episode of Best in Wealth, I share four “laws” from James Clear’s book, “Atomic Habits,” that will help you say goodbye to your bad habits. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:37] What is your bad habit?
  • [5:23] Get an accountability partner
  • [6:54] Step #1: Make it invisible 
  • [8:40] Step #2: Make it unattractive 
  • [10:06] Step #3: Make it difficult
  • [11:52] Step #4: Make it unsatisfying 

What is your bad habit?

What is your worst bad habit? Describe that behavior. What is  undesirable about the habit that you want to break? What is offensive about it? What does it keep you from obtaining? Why do you want to change? What do you want to do instead? Are you committed to improving? If you are not committed, breaking your habit will never work. 

Clarify your bad habit, why you have it, why you want to change, and why it is good for you to change so you can develop a plan to overcome it. Many habits happen automatically—but you still choose the behavior. It is frustrating to try to change a habit through willpower alone. So what is a smarter way to conquer your automatic behavior? What is the first thing you need to do? 

Step #1: Make it invisible 

James Clear’s first law is to make it invisible. How can you reduce your exposure to your bad habit? If your habit is spending too much time on your phone, you can silence your phone or charge it in another room. If you drink too much, clear the booze out of your house. The goal is to reduce how much that habit is confronting you. 

Step #2: Make it unattractive

How do you make a bad habit unattractive? Reframe your mindset. What are the benefits of avoiding bad habits? If I avoid my bad habit, I will get more sleep because I will go to bed sooner.  Secondly, I will fall asleep easier if I do not spend time on my phone or watching TV. Consistently highlight the benefits of avoiding your bad habits to make them seem less attractive. 

Step #3: Make it difficult

Place multiple steps between you and your bad habits. Restrict future choices to ones that benefit you. If you want to spend less time on social media, what can you do? Log out of social media apps or uninstall them from your phone. If you got rid of the alcohol in your home, to get a drink, you have to drive to the liquor store. Is it worth it? Likely not. 

Step #4: Make it unsatisfying 

Ask someone to watch your behavior. Make the cost of your bad habits public and painful. If you know someone is watching and judging you, you are less likely to do something. You can also ask an accountability partner to give you a consequence for your actions. What would be a consequence that would keep you from continuing your bad habits? 

It’s time to learn from your past mistakes and break your bad habits. What will you change moving forward? 

Resources Mentioned

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Connect With Scott Wellens

Podcast Disclaimer:

The Best In Wealth Podcast is hosted by Scott Wellens. Scott Wellens is the principal at Fortress Planning Group. Fortress Planning Group is a registered investment advisory firm regulated by the Securities Act of Wisconsin in accordance and compliance with securities laws and regulations. Fortress Planning Group does not render or offer to render personalized investment or tax advice through the Best In Wealth Podcast. The information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, tax, investment or legal advice.