6 Steps to Breaking Bad Habits

The rule of Habit: Every time you re-perform an activity it gets easier and easier to perform; to the point where virtually no mental effort will eventually be involved in the re-performance of the activity.  The opposite of this is also true, whenever you refrain from an activity it becomes increasingly more difficult to perform, until you have virtually no desire to perform the activity.

We know that everything that appears in our life first originates from our thoughts.  If a habit is in our life, we know the parents of that habit was, and continues to be our thoughts.

The Conception of a Habit

Habits first begin as a single-thought, then they become a multitude of thoughts, which evolve into actions, then habits; our habits make up our character, and our character dictates our life.  But it all starts with a single-thought, and then is perpetuated by the continuation of related thoughts.

Your ability to stop that initial negative thought from becoming a multitude of negative thoughts will determine your success in breaking or preventing any negative habit.  This article is about how to consistently extinguish that initial negative thought.  By doing this you will prevent a single flame from burning down an entire forest.

An Example

I would liken the formation of bad habits to the formation of an adulteress relationship.  Initially the relationship may be innocent, but then your eyes lock and you are enticed by their beauty. (A seed has now been sown, and conception has taken place.)  You must now make the decision to retreat or pursue.  You decide to pursue.  You take them out, and you shower them with gifts.  Now at the zenith or pinnacle of your relationship, you make love. It appears to be an amazing experience.  And so, you do it again, and again, and again; you feel like you must see this person everyday.

But eventually the habit of this negative relationship interferes with your life, a part of you wants out and a part of you wants more.  You recognize that you can’t live with the habit, but you feel as if you can’t live without it.  You are a prisoner.  You have become as the Apostle Paul who wrote in his time of struggle: “….that which I would, I do not, and that which I would not, I find myself doing….”

Breaking the Cycle

In the example above, the locking of eyes represents the first negative thought.  Deciding to pursue the person represents the multitude of proceeding thoughts.  The gifts represent the fascination with the thought (this is when the thought gets incubated and begins to grow strong).  Making love represents the first action, which gets repeated over, and over again in this negative cycle.

What started out as a single-thought has erupted into lasciviousness; what could have been changed by a single-thought, a single switch of focus, is now out-of-control.

So how do you break the bad habit and free yourself from this adulteress mental relationship? Here are six steps.

Six Steps to Breaking Bad Habits:

  1. Change your environment. Certain environments are breeding grounds for certain behaviors.  You must consciously change your environment, and document a written plan to ensure your changes are permanent.  If you’re addicted to food, you may need to get all of the junk food out of your house and create a plan to never purchase it again.  If you’re in a bad relationship, you may want to create an environment that doesn’t include the other person.
  2. Extinguish the initial negative thought. As soon as a negative thought comes to you, you should say, “Cancel, Cancel” and proceed to think of something positive.  Never think about the negative habit again.
  3. Surround yourself with friends who are already what you want to become. Limit your time with people who aren’t what you want to become (e.g. If you want to quit smoking, you can’t hang around smokers all day).  Some habits may require you to change what movies and television shows you watch.
  4. Schedule a day to jumpstart your new program. Start this day by spending a few moments meditating and seeing yourself free from the habit.  Make an affirmation stating your new intentions; this will help to put you in the right frame of mind for this new life you will be living.  During this time you must make the decision to change.
  5. Create a positive habit to replace the negative habit.
  6. Remember to come back to this list and begin again. You’ll have to jumpstart yourself again with a time of mediation and affirmation to help reset your programming.

Do you have any tips for breaking bad habits? Please share your advice in the comments below.

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