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Habit: How to Change Your Ways in a World of Distraction

As anyone who’s ever been asked to change knows, habits can be incredibly hard to create and equally hard to shake. How can we kick a habit that keeps us from what we really want out of life and, instead, replace it with a habit that supports our goals? How can we get rid of a bad habit that would otherwise lead to job loss, poor health, and loneliness? How can we create a good habit that leads to success at work and happiness in your personal life?

Below you’ll find links to my best articles on this topic. You’ll find strategies to help you stop unhealthy habits and discover the strategies to create – and sustain healthy habits.

Habits don’t just appear from thin air. They have little to do with our inborn character. Cultivating habits is a matter of choice. Good habits are about developing small, healthy frequent routines. You then need to stick to those routines until they become habitual. There are great tools that can help you develop new routines and methods which will lead you to adopt healthy, happy habits for life.

Over time, good habits become automatic and require little or no conscious thought. That’s what makes habits so powerful.

The articles below are full of actionable advice so you can develop strong, healthy habits and ditch your bad ones. Jump right in and get started on building habits to reach your goals and build a more successful and healthier life.

Top Articles on Habits

Stop Confusing Habits for Routines: What You Need To Know

Stop Confusing Habits for Routines: What You Need To Know

Trying to build good habits can often backfire. Here’s why it’s important to know how habits are formed and when it’s better to stick with a routine instead.Habits are hot. Self-help articles extol the power of habits and books on the topic sell by the millions. Yet,...

Un-Hooked: Increasing Focus in the Age of Distraction

I recently presented a new talk about how to manage digital distraction using the Hook Model. I hope you enjoy the brief video below.Also, I've been thinking of writing more on this topic. Let me know what you think. Is this an interesting topic? Do you struggle with...

The Behavioral Economics Diet: The Science of Killing a Bad Habit

Diets don’t work. Studies show that temporary fixes to old habits actually make people gain weight. Essentially, the dieter’s brain is trained to gorge when off the diet and inevitably the weight returns. In my previous essay, I shared the story of my father's...

Can’t Kick a Bad Habit? You’re Probably Doing It Wrong

I had just finished giving a speech on building habits when a woman in the audience exclaimed, "You teach how to create habits, but that's not my problem. I'm fat!" The frustration in her voice echoed throughout the room. "My problem is stopping bad habits. That's why...

Your Fitness App is Making You Fat, Here’s Why

Your Fitness App is Making You Fat, Here’s Why

Fitness apps are all the rage. An explosion of new companies and products want to track your steps and count your calories with the aim of melting that excess blubber. There's just one problem -- most of these apps don't work. In fact, there is good reason to believe...

Email Habits: How to Use Psychology to Regain Control

"You teach best what you most need to learn." - Richard Bach I don't usually write about personal and revealing matters, but recently I've noticed something I don't like about myself--I check email too often. This confession doesn't come easily, because, ironically, I...

The Psychology Behind Why We Can’t Stop Messaging

Today, there’s an app for just about everything. With all the amazing things our smartphones can do, there is one thing that hasn’t changed since the phone was first developed. No matter how advanced phones become, they are still communication devices — they connect...

Habits, Obstacles, and Media Manipulation with Ryan Holiday

This week I chat with Ryan Holiday, an author, hacker, and self-described “media manipulator.” Ryan Holiday’s new book “The Obstacle is the Way” takes an interesting look at how challenges shape and improve our lives. We discuss the personal habits Ryan integrated...

The Number One Reason Good Habits Don’t Last

Nir’s Note: This guest post is written by Max Ogles. Max writes at MaxOgles.com about behavior change, psychology, and technology. Sign up for a free copy of his upcoming e-book, “9 Ways to Motivate Yourself Using Psychology and Technology.” A commonly quoted and...

Can Online Apps Change Real-Life Behavior?

Nir’s Note: This guest post is written by Max Ogles. Max is an editor for NirAndFar.com and heads marketing for CoachAlba.com, a mobile health startup. Follow him on Twitter and read his blog at MaxOgles.com.Weight gain happens pound by pound, over many years, and...

How to Break 5 Soul-Sucking Technology Habits

Nir's Note: In this last in a series of guest posts on the topic of technology habits, Jason Shah shares practical tips he used to regain control over his devices and break bad habits. Jason is a Product Manager at Yammer and blogs about user experience and technology...

4 Simple Things I Did to Control My Bad Tech Habits

Nir’s Note: In this guest post, Sharbani Roy explores techniques she used to break bad habits related to eating, sleeping and exercising. Sharbani blogs at sharbaniroy.com and you can follow her on twitter @Sharbani. It’s 2 AM and you’re exhausted, but unable to...

The Real Reason You’re Addicted to Your Phone

Nir's Note: This guest post by Avi Itzkovitch offers some clues as to why we can't seem to put our cell phones down. Avi (@xgmedia) is an Independent User Experience Consultant. He is currently working from his Tel-Aviv Studio XG Media. Do you constantly check your...

Why Behavior Change Apps Fail to Change Behavior

Imagine walking into a busy mall when someone approaches you with an open hand. “Would you have some coins to take the bus, please?” he asks. But in this case, the person is not a panhandler. The beggar is a PhD. As part of a French study, researchers wanted to know...

Time for Digital Hat Racks

The first thing Don Draper does when he gets to his office is give his busty secretary a suggestive wink. The second thing he does is take off his fedora. Finally, depending on the severity of the previous night, he completes his morning routine with a stiff drink....

The First Thing to Know When Creating a Habit

My talk at the Silicon Valley Quantified Self Meetup at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.The two most important slides:Full slide deck here - Knowing Your Behavior Type - Quantified Self meetup NOTE: If you are reading this over email and you don't see the...

Forming New Habits: Train to be an Amateur, Not an Expert

Note: I’m proud to have co-authored this post with my good friend Charles Wang.  Charles is a co-founder of LUMOback, a former classmate, and an accomplished psychiatrist.  He brings a great perspective to the art of Behavior Engineering.Here’s the gist: Forming new...