To change a habit, you’ll want to tackle it from both directions—both positively and negatively. This is called the pincer strategy. Here is how it works. You design the worst possible consequence you could think of, relative to that habit as your unpleasant deterrent/punishment, if you sink back into it, and, on the other side, you also allure yourself with the best possible incentive if you go the new direction, by a better choice.
Let’s say that you want to stop eating greasy salted chips. If you cave in and eat one, your “self crafted” punishment/deterrent might be that you follow that action of past habit NOW with a 1/4 tsp horseradish! Conversely, if you succeed in going a full day without chips, you give yourself a positive “chip” (i.e. perhaps smaller in size, like a quarter, in an envelope for that day), giving yourself an even larger prize at the end of the week of one used book of your choice on Amazon or AbeBooks.
List the habit(s) you want changed. Write it down. Then, design your pincer strategy. If you can’t think of a bad consequence, enlist your family’s help. They’ll have NO trouble designing hair-raising consequences that are the perfect fit for you! If you listen to them, OR your better self, you’ll be jettisoning bad habits right and left :)
For related reading, see our new book, Savvy Teens.