Today let's talk about your bad bad habit.

You know the one I'm talking about right? No not the one where you forget to fill up the gas til the last moment. I'm talking about that other, far more awkward one - don't worry, I'll keep it a secret!

So how do we break it?

Well the naive way would be to try really hard to resist all temptation and be like a zen monk meditating in a field of wheat. No disrespect to zen monks (forgive me sensei!) but there are better ways.

One technique is keeping the cue and reward, but replacing the routine.

Most automatic behaviors good or bad fall into a cue (prompt), response (routine) and reward loop.

You have a stressful day of work, come home and reach for the Ben & Jerry's and you're rewarded with a Pavlovian hit of dopamine - before the regret kicks in.

The routine replacement approach keeps the cue and reward the same, but swaps the routine out.

Next time you remember the stressful day at work, you instead blend a banana blueberry oat milk smoothie and are rewarded with a pleasure response - but this time without the wave of guilt of having demolished a whole tub of cookies and creme (that you swore on your family honor you wouldn't do again).

Some more examples...

Instead of scratching the skin around your nails, give yourself a mini neck massage.

Instead of getting worked after a bad phone call, drop and do 10 pushups to get it out of your system.

Instead of watching "just one more episode", tell yourself what you enjoyed about the last one then get back to the rest of your day.

So what bad habits can you swap out?