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How to break a habit (and replace it)

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hand holding an energy marbleAnalyzing the habit

In this article, I will analyze the procedure regarding how to break a habit and replace it with another one.

When we want to break a habit it usually means that this habit has more negative effects than positive on us.

Meaning, that a habit that is considered to be bad is still giving us a minimum degree of pleasure, in any kind of way. This may be one of the reasons that we preserve this specific habit.

Other reasons can be that it is part of a routine or/and that it’s easy, comfortable and convenient for us.

And a fact why we stick to bad habits is that we act on them unconsciously, without analyzing or giving too much thought to the specific action. We just do it!…..for all the reasons that I mentioned above.

If you think about it, our every day is full of these kinds of actions and reactions.

Starting from when we wake up, some of us like to just lay in bed for an hour or MORE, taking our coffee with sugar, then running to get ready to work because we spent more time than we should, doing absolutely nothing on our bed, spending a lot of time on our mobile, taking another coffee with a cookie, smoking, eating fast food, nail biting, procrastinating, lying, blaming others and the list can go on and on.

These are all things that we do without giving it much thought. It’s things we are used to, that makes us feel comfortable, or just gives us a quick solution at that particular moment. It’s what our mind do mechanically because it’s a habit built within us.

 

Breaking a habit

When you make a decision to break a habit you have made a decision to make a change in your life. Some people like changes and some do not. So the grade of difficulty and inconvenience depends, to some extent, on the person.

two animated people afraid of change an animated man not afraid of changes

The most important thing though, is to be determined to break the habit.
For example, if you want to stop smoking because everybody around you tells you how bad it is for your health, you will probably make an effort and after a couple of days or weeks, you will give up.

So if you have given it a thought and you are determined about making this change in your life, let’s get started.

 

•1- Examine your habit.

♦Write down all the negative and all the positive effects that the specific habit has on you and why you want to break it.

♦Write down your goal (the reason you want to break the habit or what you want to achieve) on a post-it and stick it on your fridge, bathroom mirror or on any place that you will come across many times during the day.
You can even write it on a cardboard and place it above your bed, in the kitchen etc.

 

•2 -Understand your habit and insert mindfulness in your life.

Mindfulness means being aware of all your activities and not just doing them unconsciously.

Staying in the present moment and focusing on your feelings and sensations within every task or activity will make you understand them.

When the need for the particular habit occurs, you have to examine all your feelings at that exact moment.
Why does it happen? Did a specific feeling make you want to do this habit?

♦Write down how you feel before doing it, while doing it (without being mindful )and after doing it.
♦Write down how you feel when you’re doing it while being mindful at the same time.

 

•3-Next step would be to examine the environment/surroundings that help the habit exist and grow stronger.

Examine with what feelings and circumstances it is connected to. Where does it come from?

When you have found out what it is connected to try to change that.

Example: (1) If you’re trying to reduce smoking, the second coffee of the day, may make you smoke more.
(2) If you cannot get out of bed in the morning maybe you need something that will get you motivated to start the day.

So changing the environment that helps this habit exist is the next step.
(1) Replace the coffee with something that will not make you feel the need to smoke. With a cup of herbal  tea, a fruit or a sandwich.
(2)If you cannot get out of bed in the morning try to change the way you wake up. Set your alarm waking you up with a song that makes you happy (in this case change the songs often because in a while you may not longer like that particular song).

 

•4-Replace the habit with another one.

The thing that can be tricky here is that a bad habit may make us feel good the moment we do it, although it may have more negative effects on us (the fact that it makes us feel good may be reversible if you are mindful while doing the habit)

Point 1:
Eating sweets every day make you feel good, but it’s not so good for your health.

Point 2: If eating sweets make you feel better in moments when you are stressed or sad you must find something else that will have the same effect.
Of course, it will not be the same, but something similar.

 

•5Stay motivated! 

Motivation is very important because it will help you not to fall into the trap of the habit again, without forcing yourself not to do the habit.

Forcing and pressuring yourself too much can have the opposite results.

So, read one article per day about the bad effects of the specific habit you are trying to quit, or the good effects of the habit you are trying to replace it with.

 

•6-Be excited about it!

Be excited about making a change in your life. Don’t look consider it a difficult thing to do.

 

•7-Last but not least. Meditate daily! 🙂

Meditation will help you on all the stages that I have analyzed.

Meditation is about bringing awareness into your life that will make you (in an unforced way) make new choices and changes.

 


If you found this article helpful leave a comment below.
Thank you for reading 🙂

 


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