How to Break Bad HabitsApril 7, 2019
Most of the things we do in life are done out of habit. From the moment we wake up in the morning to the actions we take throughout the day – our morning routine, our regular breakfast and our daily chores at work – the habits we develop literally control most of our actions.
Because our habits dictate all the small details that make up our everyday lives, they also are directly related to the bigger issues in our lives, such as how much money we earn, the kind of person we marry or live with, our physical condition and health, and every other area of our lives. Our habits determine our character, the type of person we project to the rest of the world and, ultimately, our destiny. So if we embrace bad habits – those habits which have a negative impact on who we are – then those same habits will prevent us from achieving excellence in our lives, holding us back from reaching our fullest potential.
It’s only by breaking bad habits and replacing them with good habits that we can ultimately succeed in life and be the people we were truly meant to be. The purpose of this book is to show you how to break bad habits – any sort of bad habit, from those that are damaging to your health, like smoking or not wearing a seatbelt, to those that affect your self-esteem, such as negative thinking or overeating – and replace them with positive behaviours that can become part of your daily life and finally cause you to see the results you truly want.
Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity was performing the same task over and over again and expecting a different result. When you keep repeating the same bad habits, you would have to be crazy to think that anything will ever change for you. Breaking Bad Habits will show you how to end the madness and start living your life to its fullest by abandoning bad habits and replacing them with positive ones.
Bad Habits vs. Good Habits
So how does one define a “bad” habit, and what qualities separate those from “good” habits? In most cases, the distinction is obvious. A habit is a “bad” habit if:
- It is destructive, harmful or poses a short or long-term danger to you or somebody else.
- It negatively impacts your self-esteem, the way others view you, and your overall reputation as a good or bad person.
- Is a pattern of undesirable behaviour acquired through frequent repetition.
Usually, bad habits begin innocently. But bad habits have a tendency to quickly snowball. A single bad habit can act as a magnet to others. People who smoke often tend to drink. People who drink sometimes use profanity or are rude to other people. People who are rude might hang out at casinos or horseracing tracks. People who gamble may be more likely to frequent prostitutes or take drugs. Soon, something that started out as a quirk or a one-off has escalated into a lifestyle that is self-destructive, damages your reputation and ultimately can ruin your career, your family life, your health and even end your life.
Examples of Bad Habits
Practically any habit that can be considered “good” can have a “bad” counterpart:
- Destructive personal habits like smoking, drinking and abusing drugs
- Overeating or not living a healthy lifestyle
- Making poor financial decisions
- Being addicted to sex or pornography
- Failing to live in a positive manner
- Taking a negative view of your world
In short, anything that interferes with your ability to live a happy and healthy life can be considered a bad habit.
When Is a Habit Really An Addiction?
People who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling or other self-destructive behaviours frequently point to the physical and psychological addiction that prevents them from overcoming their bad habits.
But you don’t need to have a chemical or psychological dependency to have an addiction. Addiction is defined as “the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice ….to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.” So, in fact, any bad habit is an addiction because it enslaves us, preventing us from achieving our highest potential. Make no mistake: there will be consequences for reversing any bad habit. Yet these are nothing to fear. Pain is temporary; quitting lasts forever.
Our Need for Habitual Behaviour, Habits and Beliefs
Habits are not only useful, but we actually rely on our routines to function in our daily lives. Physiologists tell us that of the 11,000 signals we receive from our senses, our brain only consciously processes about 40. So our brains use the rote familiarity of habits so that we can focus on other “higher value” activities.
Things like walking, chewing our food, and talking don’t require the kind of mental focus that solving math problems or playing video games do. These activities we take for granted are actually habits we have developed that are performed without conscious intent. Social habits work the same way. Most people will take a shower at the same time every day or always drive the same route to work. These habits are performed essentially without conscious thought. Negative habits – like overeating, smoking or driving too fast – work the same way. We rarely think about these things, even when they are putting us in danger or damaging our health or well-being.
Using Habits to Achieve Success
Oftentimes, we are not able to even perceive that we have bad habits. Have you ever known or worked with somebody who has poor personal hygiene or had a friend who drank or partied too much? Usually, those people don’t consciously decide to perform their bad habit. They just do it out of habit! When we take the time to recognize our own bad habits, take corrective action and replace them with good, positive and healthy habits, the result is permanent change that pays dividends to our health, prosperity and happiness for the rest of our lives.
Imagine being a fit and active person who works out daily without even thinking about it. Or someone who always makes the right food choices, doesn’t get into financial trouble, studies thoroughly for every examination, performs their duties without flaws automatically, and so on. Isn’t that something that is desirable? If you could make healthy, positive choices all the time without even thinking about it, your life would be much easier. Once you can replace your bad habits with good habits, you can also eliminate the stress and anxiety that those bad habits cause in your life so that you can finally achieve the feelings of happiness and well-being that you have always desired.
You deserve to be happy. In your heart, you know that to be true. Breaking your bad habits and replacing them with good ones can help you achieve that happiness. So, are you ready to get started?