How to Break bad Habits...

How to break bad Habits:

"A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit."

~ Desiderius Erasmus - habits

Developing a habits is normal, natural and also necessary.

Habits give us stability and rhythm in our lives and free us from thinking and re-assessing every single thing we do... 

Routines and habits are closely entwined. My morning routine is comprised of a series of actions, each one is performed following my particular habit: getting up, brushing my teeth, exercising, driving to work, etc...

I don't have to question each and every step, over and over again, every morning. 

But there are those habits, we may want to look at. The one's that bother us. The self-destructive ones.

Once we can see that we would like to stop doing something a certain way... or stop doing something completely... we find ourselves struggling to get out of this loop.

We have become so used to doing something a certain way, sometimes for many years. It is a challenge to break those deep embedded habits.

Addictions are those habits, we have lost control over. We may feel enslaved to an addiction.

Excessive drinking, smoking, compulsive gambling, or overeating, etc. are habitual patterns of behavior that can be changed.

This is good news!

How to break bad Habits

How to Break bad Habits?

How can it be achieved?

There is not ONE single answer, one recipe to stop a bad habits or addiction. First of all, we need to become quiet, look at what causes the habit and understand it.

In all things we need to look at the state of balance - yin and yang.

Some habits can be changed bit by bit... others need to find the end, once and for all. 

Forming New Habits

In order to stop one habit, we may find something else, a better and more enjoyable habit, and replace the old one.

From now on I'll stop being a couch potato, for example. Instead, I'll run 5 km a day!

I don't want to disappoint you, but this may not work.

We can decide to dump a habit completely and forever – we just need to make sure the steps we take towards this goal, are manageable.

We can take baby steps, towards our goal... consistently improving our lives, by replacing parts of a 'big bad habit'.

If we think that we should be able to stop the habit through the power of will, and it doesn’t work, we shouldn't reach the conclusion, that we are weak-willed or biologically and morally defective or that we are doomed for the rest of our lives.


If taking the 'whole' problem in one bite... is too much... take smaller bites. Keep balance in mind and prepare for the change. 

The most important thing to do, is to understand what lays behind this particular behavior, the thought that will send us on a binge, or to smoke the cigarette.

Habits can be changed – it's possible!

Steps to Stop a Bad Habit - Action Plan 

Acupressure points, healthy diets, exercise and breathing techniques (meditation) will be of added help to ease the moments of challenge – make sure to build them into your 'Action plan' – more below.

First of all... don't try to change everything at once! This is not realistic... and is setting yourself up for failure.

Start with very small changes and enjoy your successes!

Keep in mind that every habit you want to change needs a replacing habit... it is nearly impossible to live in a state of void.

3 Basic Steps for Habit Change

1. Write down your plan.

2. Identify your triggers and choose and set up replacement habits.

3. Focus on doing the replacement habits every single time the triggers happen, for 30 days... this needs to be your commitment... not forever... but during those 30 days, you won't budge!

That’s it.

The Habit Change Cheat-sheet 

based on: '29 Ways to Successfully Ingrain a Behavior'

by Leo Babauta

The following is a compilation of tips to help you change a habit. Don’t be overwhelmed — always remember the simple steps above. The rest are different ways to help you become more successful in your habit change.

Target just one habit at a time. This is very important. Habit change is difficult, even with just one habit – or even 'half a habit'. Keep it simple… and manageable.

Start small. The smaller the better, because habit change is difficult, and trying to take on too much is a recipe for failure. Want to get in shape? Start with just 5-10 minutes exercise. Want to wake up earlier? Go for just 10 minutes earlier, for now… you can always add later… for the next 30 days. :) How to break bad Habits

Make it a 30-day challenge. If you're focused and consistent, it takes about 30 days to change a habit. This is a round number and will vary from person to person and habit to habit. But 30 days is a good number to get you started. The challenge: work with the habit - every day - for 30 days.

Write it down. Just saying you’re going to change the habit is not enough... you need to actually write it down, on paper. Write what habit you’re going to change. Make a plan. This will ensure you’re really prepared. The plan should include your reasons (motivations) for changing, obstacles, triggers, support buddies, and other ways you’re going to make this a success.

Know your motivations, and be sure they’re strong. Write them down in your plan. You have to be very clear why you’re doing this... the benefits of doing it need to be clear in your head. We need a strong motive to change.

Don’t start right away. Write down a start date. If you start right away (like today), you are not giving the plan the seriousness it deserves. When you have a “Quit Date” or “Start Date”, it gives significance. Make this an IMPORTANT DAY. This builds up anticipation and excitement, and helps you to prepare.

Write down all your obstacles. If you’ve tried this habit change before (chances are you have), you’ve likely failed. Reflect on those failures, and figure out what stopped you from succeeding. Write down every difficulty that’s happened to you, and others that are likely to happen... Then write down how you plan to overcome them. That’s the key: write down your solution before the obstacles arrive, so you’re prepared.

Identify your triggers. What situations trigger your current habit? For the smoking habit, for example, triggers might include waking in the morning, having coffee, drinking alcohol, stressful meetings, going out with friends, driving, etc. Most habits have several triggers.

Identify all of them and write them in your plan.

For every single trigger, identify a positive habit you’re going to do instead. When you first wake in the morning, instead of smoking, what will you do? What about when you get stressed? When you go out with friends? Some positive habits could include: exercise, meditation, deep breathing, organizing, de-cluttering, etc... How to break bad Habits

Plan a support system. Who will you turn to when you have a strong urge? Write these people into your plan. Don’t underestimate the power of support — it’s really important.

Ask for help. Get your family and friends – and colleagues - to support you. Ask them for their help, and let them know how important this is to you.

Become aware of self-talk. You talk to yourself, in your head, all the time — but often we are not aware of these thoughts. Start listening. Often these thoughts negative:

“I can’t do this. This is too hard. Why am I putting myself through this? How bad is this for me anyway? I’m not strong enough. I don’t have enough discipline. I suck.” ... at times these voices just won't stop... Be ready for them!

Stay positive. You will have negative thoughts — the important thing is to realize when you’re having them... don't try to push them out of your head... just look at them... and try to remember the plan... you might even smile...

Have strategies to defeat the urge. Urges will come — they’re unavoidable, and they are powerful. They are also temporary, and pass. Urges usually last about a minute or two, and they come in waves of varying strength. You need to ride out the wave, and the urge will go away.

Some strategies for making it through the urge: deep breathing, self-massage, take a walk, exercise, drink a glass of water or call a support buddy...

Prepare for the 'sabotagers'. There will always be people who are negative, who try to get you back to do your old habit. Why? This is all together another topic... (I'll get to it – in time...) Be ready for them. Confront them, and be direct: you don’t need them to try to sabotage you, you need their support, and if they can’t support you then you don’t want to be around them.

Have a mantra. Create a way to remind yourself of what you’re trying to do - “Liberate Yourself”, "Be free" ... Find a picture to connect to in you mind... Your children – Your spouse – Yourself! ... something that will remind you ... WHY? are doing this...

Be your own cheerleader... give yourself pep talks, repeat your mantra, and don’t be afraid to seem crazy to others. We’ll see who’s crazy when you’ve changed your habit and they’re still lazy, unhealthy slobs!... ha!

Use visualization. This is powerful. Vividly picture, in your head, successfully changing your habit. Visualize doing your new habit after each trigger, overcoming urges, and what it will look like when you’re done.

Have rewards. On a regular base... give yourself a reward, a prize - a positive feedback. Put rewards into your plan, along with the milestones – the time you’ll receive your award.

Take it one urge at a time. Often we’re told to take it one day at a time — which is good advice — but really it’s one urge at a time.

NO EXCEPTIONS! This is a necessity: when you’re trying to break the bonds between an old habit and a trigger, and form a new bond between the trigger and a new habit, you need to be truly consistent. Sometimes won't do... or there will be no new bond, or at least it will take a really, really, long time to form. So long... that you will forget about the plan altogether...

So, at least for the first 30 days, no exceptions. How to break bad Habits

Each time a trigger comes, you need to do the new habit and not the old one. No exceptions.

Get rest. Being tired leaves us vulnerable to relapse. Get a lot of rest so you can have the energy to overcome urges.

Drink lots of water. Similar to the item above, being dehydrated leaves us open to failure. Stay hydrated!

Renew your commitment. Remind yourself of your commitment hourly, and at the beginning and end of each day. Read your plan. Celebrate your success. Prepare yourself for obstacles and urges.

Avoid some situations where you normally do your old habit... at least for awhile, to make it a little easier on yourself.

If you normally drink when you go out with friends, consider not going out for a while. If you normally go outside your office with co-workers to smoke, stay put – for a while.

This applies to any bad habit — whether it be eating junk food or doing drugs, there are some situations you can stay away from that are especially difficult for someone trying to change a bad habit.

If you fail... find out what went wrong... be honest... plan for it, and try again. Don’t let failure and guilt stop you. They’re just obstacles, but they can be overcome. Regroup...

... and get back on that horse!!!

how to break bad habits

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The information on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition.