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This 3-step process could help you break your bad habits

We all havebad habits.

Whether its doomscrolling on social media, spending too much time on Netflix, or smoking and drinking excessively, some of these are unproductive at best, but many still choose to indulge in them.

People tend to blame external factors for their bad habits, but the truth is that the root cause is usually internal.

"It's an emotion regulation problem," says Nir Eyal, behavioral design expert and best-selling author of "Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life."

The average American spends 4 hours and 37 minutes a day looking at their phone screens, according to Harmony Healthcare IT.

This figure is even higher in parts of Asia. In Indonesia, the average daily screen time spent on a mobile phone was a whopping 6.05 hours in 2023, according to Statista. The average in Thailand was 5.64 hours of screen time, and 4.77 hours in India, according to the same dataset.

"We do time studies on why people check their phones, and only 10% of time is it because of a ping, ding or ring," Eyal told CNBC Make It.

"So 90% of the time, it's for some other reason — a feeling, which is actually the root cause of everything we do — it's about the desire to escape discomfort."

Ultimately, in order to cut out bad habits associated with distraction, people need to learn how to regulate their emotions and master their internal triggers.

Here are some ways to achieve this, according to Eyal.

The first step is to realize that you have control over your actions instead of blaming outside factors, Eyal said.

"People who have an internal locus of control realize that they control what they do — we know that [they] are wealthier, they're happier, they have more friends [and] they contribute more to the community," he