Do you want to break a bad habit?
You may have been aware of this bad habit for a long time, and you may have tried to break it, but nothing is happening…
Or this may be the first time you’re reflecting upon what habits you have developed over your lifetime, and how they currently impact your life.
Deep down you may want to start spending more time and energy to feed your own needs and desires, and not just serving work or others first.
Let’s say that this example of a habit of putting yourself last has been one of yours for a while now.
But you notice that you’re STILL NOT DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY than before.
No matter how many times you’ve promised yourself to break this bad habit, if you’re not applying a different energy nothing is going to change.
Why on earth is it so seemingly impossible!?
Whatever scenario you identify within your own life, you can start today. Doing this incredibly important work is to learn how to break a bad habit for yourself.
Some of our habits and preferences are deeply rooted, they have been with us for a long time. We all have ways and daily habits that we rely on for safety and comfort.
Bad habits are bottled-up energy on repeat created by logic to keep us stuck.
When we do something habitually (even if it’s not good for us) we don’t have to make an effort to do it.
And we don’t have to face reality.
But if you want to learn how to break a bad habit for good, it’s going to take a different energy.
A different way than how you have approached it before.
I used to have a habit of turning to organizing, planning, and doing chores before prioritizing spending time on myself and what I truly needed for my own self-care and well-being.
It was so much easier for me to just go on with what needed to be done at home and at work than to step away and engage emotionally in finding out what I needed to truly thrive.
The choice of turning to chores and the next task on the to-do list really was a habit that drained me totally, because I could go on and on.
I felt I was never done, there was always something else, and maybe another closet needed organizing after that.
I never ended up paying attention to my own needs, rather than paying attention to the next item on the to-do list.
This was a dead end.
Do you recognize yourself in the pattern and habit of putting everything and everyone else in front of your own needs?
Whatever bad habit you know you have to distract yourself from your truth, meaning a habit that’s not serving you to live your best life?
You can change this – Starting today!
Are you ready?
Key steps to break a bad habit:
Are your habits serving you or not?
First, how do you know if a habit is serving you or not? Let’s do a quick self-test that may give you a hint:
- Take a moment to identify and write down a description of which habits you have that you feel good about. Hint: Those are the habits that are serving you well and that you want to expand on.
- Then, identify and write down a description of the habit(s) that you feel bad about. Those are the habits that are not serving you well. Those are the habits that are keeping you stuck.
Notice the feelings that come up. This may be the first time you’re thinking about what habits you have developed over your lifetime.
So don’t worry if this takes a bit of time to navigate and be clear on.
What is behind the habit? What are you avoiding?
Next, is to acknowledge that you do have bad habits (we all do) and how they are not serving you. What is the impact on your life of maintaining these bad habits? No judgment is needed here!
The key is to really hone in on those daily habits that are derailing you. It can be emotionally, mentally and sometimes physical habits that prevent you from living your best life.
Habits that are not serving you are keeping you from being as happy as you can be.
Bad habits can really hold you back from personal growth and keep you in a loop, so learning how to change your habits so that you can grow and evolve in life is so important.
Then, once you’ve identified the habits that are not serving you, it’s time to go deeper with what you’re avoiding when you’re repeating the habit.
It’s easier to repeat a habit than to make a shift and welcome joy.
In my own situation, I turned to something that came so easily to me such as organizing and doing chores.
Or putting my head down in front of the computer by myself to avoid engaging emotionally with someone else and potentially having to deal with someone else’s energy.
Ask yourself, what do you avoid by turning to the bad habits you have?
Habits are comforting.
Over-eating, over-exercising, or over-working, etc. is more comfortable and requires less energy than potentially dealing with feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, or abandonment.
This energy may have no relevance in your life today but is stuck in your subconscious.
The key here is to become aware.
Not until you start asking yourself these questions about what’s behind the behavior you can become aware.
Your logic created the habit, your heart knows the truth about how to break the habit.
Once you are willing to ask the questions to yourself honestly you become aware, and you gain the power to acknowledge and welcome your reality today for what it is (including the bad habits).
That’s when you can start the process of making a change.
Set the vision and intentions for habits that serve you well.
The next step in how to break a bad habit is to pivot and create a vision from your heart of what you want for yourself instead.
It may be more time to yourself doing what you love instead of maintaining this bad habit.
Maybe you used to paint, but life got in the way and now you feel rigid and bored. It’s that this habit is holding you back from doing more of it. NOW is the time to bring your passion back!
This vision of yours, created by the heart and not logic, can be put out in the universe as an intention and released to manifest in your life.
Bottom line is, whatever is included in your vision, it’s likely supporting a good habit of yours.
If you set an intention to create only good habits that truly serve you (and others) for the highest good, things are starting to happen!
Keep your good habits on top of your mind.
After setting an intention comes the work to keep yourself from going back to the old habit. This is naturally the hardest part and it’s important to use frequent reminders about why the bad habit didn’t serve you well.
I personally find the most powerful practice to maintain the focus on the good habit is to use a physical object to remind me.
I created this concept because I needed a reminder of that vision. A representation of how I wanted to feel, show up, and BE when I served myself and my needs better.
I have different objects to remind me of different things. When I catch myself in the moment, finding myself wanting to go back to the habit I’m trying to break the object is reminding me.
For example, organize an additional closet or keep working on that project for another hour.
I glance at my bracelets and instantly they remind me of what I want instead.
You can learn how to pivot like this too!
In summary, how to break a bad habit and welcome the good habits and the best of you?
- Which habits are serving you and which are not?
- What’s behind the habit? What are you avoiding?
- Set the vision of habits that serve you well.
You deserve to feel lighter and welcome joy into your life!
What habit do you want to break so that you can live your best life?
This article was published in The Minds Journal
Learn more in Ulrika’s book: Wisdom Beyond What You Know