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Getting out of the habit

You know you shouldn’t do it. You know it’s not serving you and yet it’s impossible to stop yourself. The habit is so engrained, so a part of your life that no amount of willpower can help you move past it. 

It’s when we’re bored, tired, stressed, sad, angry or scared that the ‘BAD habit’ rises up and completely consumes us.

Destroying bad habits can seem like an impossible assignment. Replacing them with good habits is like a distant mirage we may never reach. It’s easier to find excuses to justify the habit as we slowly sink into that quagmire of helplessness. 

Over the last 20 years as a therapist I have noticed that bad habits tend to happen under denial. We know they exist but we don’t truly believe they will harm us. If we don’t acknowledge them, then we don’t have to tackle them.

Making a habit conscious and noticing it begins to gives us options. I’ve always felt that having options allows some deliberate decisions to come into play, which leads to control.

Here’s how to begin:


Write your habit down.

Write your habit down clearly. In fact, while you are at it, jot down all your ‘bad’ habits - all those niggly things you want to change and state why.


Cross out the time wasters.

Then, with a big black marker, cross out those ones that you know are not going to happen because there really is no willingness behind changing them. I would assume you are now left with a much shorter list.


Aim True

Pick one. Just one habit. No more. You can only drive one car at a time. Decide which one you will address and leave the others for another time.

When you do it, do nothing else. Pay close attention to your habit and notice everything about it. Do it slowly and do it deliberately.


Redesign what it means to you

Reframe that habit to be very undesirable. Go to that dark place in your imagination where your habit causes intense pain, fear, disgust, anxiety and get very uneasy (even horrified) about your habit. 


Do your research

Educate yourself about your habit. Yep, get onto Google and look it up! Gather all the negatives associated with your habit. Learn about the possible dire outcomes of continuing your habit. Knowing more intensifies your case for change.

Team up

Grab a buddy and get some backing, maybe even give some support as you both address the habit together. Encourage, mentor and reassure one another as you make steady progress towards your goal.

Building a house takes one brick at a time. Progress happens in small steps. One small triumph after another. Advancement is a gradual thing and requires patience. 


Set your destination

Maintain your compass reading: the best version of you. Often, remember why you want this; how you will feel once you have achieved it; focusing on life beyond the habit. The constant reminder of the benefits act as a guide to where you are traveling. 


And don't let it slip!

Building a house takes one brick at a time. Progress happens in small steps. One small triumph after another. Advancement is a gradual thing and requires patience. 

Habit change is not about restriction, because we both know when you can’t have something you only want it more. 

Know you won’t change your habit perfectly the first time. Instead of focusing on failure - refocus on successes and celebrate them. 

Habit change is a steady paced journey where each successful step forward leads you closer to your destination. 


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