Smart People, Bad Choices: Dr. Art Markman, Rachel

Smart Thinking and Breaking Bad Habits
“Why did you write this book?” Dr. Phil asks Dr. Markman.

[AD]“If you think about it, most of us are asked to think for a living," Dr. Markman says. “Unfortunately, we don’t teach people all that much about the way that their minds work. And so the idea is, the more you know about the way your mind works, the more effective you can be in thinking.”

Dr. Markman goes over his three-part formula for smart thinking.

Read more about Dr. Markman's three-part formula to Smart Thinking on Dr. Phil's blog, Turning Point.“Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a really bad habit of picking my nails, and I’ve tried everything I know to stop,” Rachel says. “As a kid, my grandma gave me gloves to wear, and that didn’t work. I tried putting professional, fake nails on before, but I end up just popping those off. As I’ve gotten older, it’s gotten worse. It’s usually triggered by stress. Part of my problem is I don’t even notice that I’m doing it until I’ve pulled off half my nail. I have hidden my hands from my boyfriend before because I don't want him to see. He’s seen my nails and has wanted to talk about it, and I just shut down. It’s gross, it’s embarrassing, and it’s a habit I need to stop.”

Dr. Markman explains that Rachel first needs to become aware of when she picks her nails. He recommends she create a habit diary where she logs every time she catches herself doing it. “Write it down: What time was it? Where were you? How were you feeling? What were you doing? What were you thinking? And do that for a couple of weeks and keep track of what’s going on,” he says.

He explains that habits are part of your memory, and she should try to replace her habit with something else that involves her hands: crocheting, knitting or putting together a puzzle. “Replace the behavior you don’t want with something that’s more productive,” he says.

“We don’t really break habits; you replace one behavior with a new one, hopefully more constructive,” Dr. Phil says.

[AD]Dr. Markman also encourages her to engage the people around her in the process. Maybe her boyfriend can hold her hand when he sees her doing it and help relax her. Also, she could to find ways to reward herself — such as holding her boyfriend’s hand and feeling good about it.

Learn more of Dr. Markman’s tips for how to break a bad habit!

Members of Dr. Phil’s studio audience receive a copy of Dr. Markman’s book, Smart Thinking: The Three Essential Keys to Solve Problems, Innovate, and Get Things Done.