To Break A Bad Habit - Try Simple Cost-Benefit Analysis

"A minute on the lips, forever on the hips."

It never stopped me from eating junk food before, but some other thoughts have:

1. "This might feel good now but I don't want to be weak."

2. "Do I really want to go out and buy new clothes just to eat this now?"

3. "How will I feel when I look in the mirror and my face looks all puffed up?"

All of this is cost-benefit analysis. Immediate gratification now (benefit), emotional and physical discomfort down the road (cost).

You can apply cost-benefit thinking to any bad habit and literally change your life.

The reason it works is that you get out of the drama. In a logical frame of mind you assess: Is this action or reaction worth it?

But when your filter is not so clear you can get stuck in an endless back and forth:

"Am I right or wrong here?"

"I don't want to hurt people's feelings."

"She said this but he said that."

"Which one should I choose?"

A single, simple metric -- resources or risk expended in exchange for return -- works better and saves a lot of time.


Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, and, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.