Illustration: Alex Nabaum
In his best-selling book of the same name, Malcolm Gladwell describes the moment of critical mass when ideas, products, and group behaviors "tip" into the culture and take root. Research shows that personal behavior has its own tipping points: In many cases, the more times you try to change a habit, the more likely you are to ultimately succeed. "To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know; I've done it 1,000 times," Mark Twain reportedly said. While he may have been joking, it does take the average smoker eight to 10 attempts before being able to quit, according to Steven Schroeder, MD, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at UCSF. Also, research shows that using various methods together—peer support, counseling combined with medications—helps tip your odds in favor of stopping for good.