From biting our nails to eating junk food, we all have bad habits.

Bad habits drain the energy from our lives and prevent us from achieving our goals.

The most dangerous part about bad habits is that most of us aren't aware that we have them in the first place. I've spoken with some of the top habit-building experts, including Nir Eyal and Greg McKeown, to learn what it takes to build healthier habits.

Become hyper-aware of your bad habit.

The natural thing to do is ignore our bad habits and behaviors, hoping they eventually vanish. But according to James Claiborn, a psychologist and co-author of The Habit Change Workbook, we should increase our awareness of bad behaviors.

Just like you would measure and track your progress at the gym to improve your results, you should do the same to improve your habits.

As CEO of Jumpspeak, I see data from tens of thousands of users of our language learning app, and daily streaks have been a major needle mover to motivate users to come back.

Get rid of the bad triggers.

As we shared previously, triggers (or cues) are what start the habit loops in the first place. To eliminate a bad habit, we need to get rid of the triggers causing them.

If you want to stop drinking, then don't go to the bar. If you want to stop eating junk food, then throw it all out (or flush it down the toilet for dramatic effect). If you want to stop going on social media, download a Web blocker app.

Relying on our human willpower can only take us so far. If your environment is making it harder for you to break your bad habits, it only makes sense to change your environment.

Replace your bad habit with a positive habit.

Eliminating a bad habit alone is not enough without this next step: replacing it with a positive habit. Since stress and boredom are the two leading causes of how a bad habit forms, it's natural for our brain to crave the bad habit again if we have nothing else to do. We need to plan ahead of time what we will do to substitute the bad habit with one that will instead serve us.

Going back to our previous examples: Instead of going back to the bar, we can pick up a new skill to fill the time, like learning a new language. After throwing out our junk food, we can take healthy cooking classes or sign up for a gym membership. Instead of going on social media, we can take read more books, learn Spanish online, etc.

Find an accountability partner/coach.

There are five main reasons why we quit anything:

  1. You run out of time.
  2. You run out of money.
  3. You get scared.
  4. You're not serious about it.
  5.  You lose interest.

By understanding these reasons before we try to break a bad habit, we can prepare ourselves for the moment when they happen. But more importantly, we can significantly increase our chances of success by finding someone to keep us accountable.

Depending on what bad habit you want to break, it may require a professional (e.g., a personal trainer, therapist, etc.) or it could just be a close friend who's there to keep you aligned.

At the end of the day, learning how to break bad habits is only 10 percent of the equation. The other 90 percent comes from taking action and persevering through the difficult struggles that will inevitably come. Most people who end up breaking their bad habits have failed multiple times before they made it work. The most important part is they never gave up.