Break Bad Habits with Pavlok: The Habit Changing Device and App that does Pavlov Proud

pavlok pavlov shocker

The Pavlok wristband device is designed to help you break bad habits. It does this by creating a negative Pavlovian response (i.e. negative reinforcement) in the form of a shock on your wrist every time you do the thing that you’re trying to stop doing. From nail-biting, to smoking, to swearing, to Facebooking (what, that’s a bad habit?), to not waking up on time, the folks behind the Pavlock device would do Pavlov proud (not Pavlova, that’s a dessert – Ivan Pavlov, of conditioned response in dogs fame).

The concept is that you wear the Pavlok device on your wrist, and through the app you tell it both when it should shock you (when you’re biting your nails, when you’re smoking, etc.), and how strong the shock should be.


How exactly the device detects when you are doing these things is the magic in the device, and in how the device is controlled by the apps. But, by all accounts, it does work.

Explains Pavlok, “Pavlok uses vibration, beep, tap, and zap sensations to train your brain to dislike bad habits and prefer good ones.”

What’s more, not only can you program the Pavlok to zap you automatically, but you can also give remote access to a friend or family member with the Pavlok Unlock app. Imagine if every time someone saw you biting your nails, or lighting up, they could zap you!

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The site goes on to explain the steps:

  • 1) Download the app, and choose the habit you want to break.
  • 2) Wear your Pavlok and listen to the 5-minute audio training sessions. The app will automatically trigger the Pavlok, you simply need to pay attention.
  • 3) Use Pavlok’s zap when you do the bad habit. Pavlok can be triggered by sensors and apps, a remote control, and manually. Manual is as effective as automatic.
  • 4) It might seem like your habit is broken in 3-4 days. Continue doing the bad habit (with zap) for at least five days, making yourself do the bad habit on purpose if necessary. The longer you continue, the more permanently the habit stays broken.

Reviews on Amazon for the Pavlok are overwhelmingly positive, and cover a range of bad habits broken:

Binge Eating: “I received my Pavlok at the end of November and have been in love with it ever since. Every time that I thought about sweets or saw sweets, I would shock myself to distract myself from them. Ever since I’ve been using my Pavlok, I have not had a binging session! I haven’t completely restricted myself from eating sweets but I now don’t crave them, nor go out of my way to buy them. But when that random craving or thought does come into consciousness, I just zap myself and keep going about my business. Pavlok has been a life changer and I highly recommend it to anyone that has a stressful life and use bad habits to make themselves feel better.”

 

Soda: “I have been struggling to stop drinking soda’s for years (terrible addiction) and in 5 days I stopped drinking soda’s and 5 weeks later I am still soda free.”

Smoking: “I have to say Pavlok definitely lived up to my expectations! I successfully stopped the urge to smoke and the amount of negative thoughts that I have in a day has significantly decreased.”

More Smoking: “I smoked more than a pack a day for over 10 years. I tried every method to stop smoking you can possibly think of. I tried the patch, all sorts of nicotine products like gum and lozenges. I tried hypnosis and acupuncture. I tried prescription medications like Chantix. Chantix came the closest to working, but I went back to smoking. I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I would always be a smoker and die of cancer. Then I found the Pavlok. I decided to make a game out of it. Instead of shocking myself every time I smoked, I let my friends, family, and wife shock me whenever they could catch me smoking. I gave rewards to anyone who could catch me, but I think the opportunity to shock me was what drove so many to play the game. Those bastards were merciless. After 5 days, I no longer smoked.”

Nail-Biting: “I’ve been biting nails since I was a kid. My situation was so bad that I’d even chew on the skin around my nails. Naturally I had wounds around all my fingers. I’ve been trying to stop this forever and have tried everything from bitter nail enamel to wearing gloves and everything in between. With Pavlok, it only took me two days to stop having the urge. I went to the movies just yesterday (~day 7) and I didn’t bite my nails even once. Previously, I’d usually leave the theater bleeding.”

Cheek Biting: “I bought Pavlok after getting tired of a bad habit I’ve had since I was a child (now I’m in my 40s) of chewing or biting my tongue, cheeks or lips. It started to get painful and just looked silly. After receiving the Pavlok I only used it when I started the bad habit, never as practice. It didn’t take long. It was calibrated stronger than I liked, so I connected with the app and adjusted it lower. I shocked myself around 10 times the first day, and after a week it was down to 0. After a couple months, I found myself starting to fall back into old habits. I put it back on and just a few jolts have it back in line.”

Over Sleeping / Hitting Snooze: “I love my Pavlok. It is adjustable as far as vibration, beep and zap so it can be customized for individual users. The alarm is very effective in getting me out of bed before I get zapped and snooze just isn’t worth it.”

(You can read more reviews of the Pavlok here, and you can check out the Pavlok Facebook page here.)

In fact, they have been so successful, that they are creating a second device specifically for those who have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. The Pavlov Shock Clock Wakeup Trainer is a wrist band that is specifically for waking up those who chronically oversleep or who otherwise can’t get out of bed.

pavlov alarm versus shock clock

The original Pavlok has only one wake-up alarm, and has the buzz and zap for all of the other habits you may want to break (smoking, nail-biting, etc.).

The Pavlok Shock Clock does only wake-up duty, but has a much more sophisticated system, which includes multiple alarms, and sleep tracking.

You can get the original Pavlok here on Amazon.

You can’t yet order the Shock Clock, but you can pre-order it by contributing to the Pavlok Shock Clock Indiegogo campaign.

And you can download the apps for Pavlok here:

Pavlok for Android
Pavloc Original App for Android
Pavlok Clock Watch Alarm App for Android
Pavlok Unlocked App for Android

Pavlok for iOS
Pavlok Original App for iOS
[Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead]
Pavlok Unlocked App for iOS

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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