Ask HabitAware: How long will it take to retrain my brain? I want my life back yesterday!

From time to time we get questions from our users that we can only guess others are thinking as well.

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Bianca from Toronto, Canada asks:

Hi, I’ve been using Keen by HabitAware and I definitely notice a huge difference in my habit on days that I wear it and days that I don’t! What would you say is the typical time period it takes for someone to take control of a behavior?

Thanks!

Bianca


Answer:

Habits are tricky and depend on how ingrained they are. We would be skeptical of anyone touting a quick solution or firm timetable, because it depends so much on the particular situation. We have seen good results with the worst habits in 2-3 months with consistent use.  The process works in a few stages:

1) Awareness of the behavior when wearing the bracelet - Most people notice increased awareness almost immediately. With consistent use, you will likely anticipate Keen's vibration before you even do the behavior -- and even before Keen!  This means you are building your awareness muscle!

2) Awareness of the behavior without wearing the bracelet - You begin to notice when you are doing it even when not wearing the bracelets.  In some cases you may be able to pull away, but in others maybe not.  This is okay, and to be expected in the beginning.

3) Determining your triggers - As you develop awareness, you'll then be able to assess the situations in which you are likely to do your behavior.  You can use Keen's app to track your behavior - just push the button on Keen's bracelet when you engage in the behavior. Then, sync back with the app. Over time, patterns will emerge.

4) Replacing the behavior - After you have identified your triggers, figure out what you can do instead of the behavior.  If it's in the office, just realizing you are anxious, stressed, bored, etc. and then proactively taking a walk, grabbing a glass of water, or doing a breathing exercise can help you refocus and curb the urge to pull or pick or nail-bite.  Over time you will build this replacement behavior into your routine, and it will override the undesirable habit circuitry in your brain with more practice.

 
 

If you have a question you want answered, email us and include "Ask HabitAware" in the subject line. We'll always write back and sometimes we just may post your question to our blog!!!

With love + awareness,

Aneela (trichster + cofounder)


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