How to break a Bad Habit

Using Atomic Habits to break a life long habit

Aamer Seth
3 min readJan 31, 2021


Photo by allison christine on Unsplash

Habits are a huge part of our lifestyle. It’s our good and bad habits that make us who we are, how we get things done and determines how we live our lives daily.

Ideally, we would like to make ourselves perfect beings, where we have no bad habits are we are super-humans being able to take on anything and anyone. To achieve this lifestyle, or get as close as we can, we’ve got to get rid of the bad habits that we have made along the way.

Atomic Habits by James Clear is one of the best self-development books that I have ever read, and throughout this book, you learn the methods and principles on how to break bad habits and build new, good habits to change your lifestyle.

I’ve found that each method on building and breaking a habit depends on who you are, how feasible the practices are and your level of dedication and determination.

While I don’t want to give the entire book away, I decided to try one of the techniques that James suggested to break a small, but a consistent habit that I have had ever since I was a child, and I am sure some of you have had this habit as well: Nail biting.

So, one of the three methods that it suggests to break a bad habit is to make it impossible. Since these are my fingers, where I can’t just leave them in another room or get rid of it, I had to get creative on how I was going to make nail-biting impossible.

I tried sprays on them that taste bad, but eventually throughout the day, with handwashing, the taste wears off and I can bite them again at night. If I wanted to break this habit, I had to try new things and get creative.

So, currently, as I am writing this article, I am wearing black nail polish so that I do not bite my nails and eat the nail polish. Admittedly, I do like the nail polish and I think it is fun, but more importantly, I have been wearing nail polish consistently for about two and a half weeks and I have not to bit my nails once.

However, I still do find myself fidgeting with them, chipping off the nail polish and then finding the need to reapply every two-three days, but over time, I am beginning to notice the less fidgeting, the less chipping and the longer-lasting nail polish which has only begun in the last few days. Soon, I’ll have to cut my nails for the first time in a long time.

I don’t believe that there is a set amount of time to build or break a habit, but instead, it is dependent on you and how long you have had that habit. So, I have no idea how long I’ll have to wear nail polish to break this habit, not that I am complaining, but I do intend to continue wearing it until I have completely gotten rid of the urge.

The technique of making the habit impossible is by far, the most effective method yet and I highly recommend it to anyone who is trying to get rid of that annoying bad habit you cannot shake.



Aamer Seth

A young University student very curious about many things and here to share his thinking. Interested in Photography, Technology and sharing stories.