Behaviour chains and how to break them

Every Sunday afternoon, Nita would buy a full 500 gram packet of potato chips from a local chips shop, that sold it fresh. Home was a proper three-storied staircase climb, so she would leave the potato chips on the dining table and rest a while. Saturdays were her time to catch up on her favourite soap, so she would sit in front of the TV with the bag of chips in hand. Much of the soap was actually a bit boring, so she dipped into her bag of chips whenever the tempo of the show lagged a bit.

The bag of potato chips would be empty in as little as 30 minutes. At the end of her soap, Nita would feel really guilty. Also the salty chips left her thirsty, so she would pour herself a tall glass of her favourite cola, which she kept readily stored in her fridge. At the end of the afternoon, no matter how her day started, Nita would end up feeling like a complete failure.

This chain of activities, happening week after week, if broken down, read like this:
1. Buy chips
2. Leave bag of chips plainly visible and accessible on dining table
3. Start watching soap with bag of chips in hand
4. Dip into bag of chips whenever bored with what was happening on screen
5. Finish the full bag without thinking
6. Feel guilty
7. Feel thirsty
8. Fetch cold cola from fridge
9. Drink sweet cola
10. Feel like a complete failure

Using an awareness technique, this chain was upended with a link-breaking behaviour:

Link in behaviour chain Link-breaking behaviour
Buying chips Do groceries at one go for the entire week with your weight loss partner. Shop on a full stomach. Buy the raw materials for making a healthy snack
Leaving bag of chips plainly visible and accessible on dining table. Store as soon as you reach home, in an opaque container.Stow away in an inaccessible place
Start watching soap with bag of chips in hand Sit with computer, which gives you something to do with her hands while watching soap
Dip into bag of chips whenever bored with what was happening on screen Browse the internet
Finish the full bag without thinking Serve yourself only one handful at a time Put bag in kitchen (far from TV) between handfuls
Feel guilty Resolve to increase control
Drink sweet cola Drink cool water with a dash of lime. Reminder to strike off cola from grocery list
Feel like a complete failure Watch out for attitude traps. Resolve to break the self-defeating behavioural chain earlier the next time around. Put in place strategies to prevent downward spiralling behaviour chains