After my posts on saying farewell to industrial sugar and several on developing healthy habits, I got asked by readers how to successfully lay off bad habits. And today’s the day to grab your magic bullet.
As we strive to make better decisions, it’s an excellent idea to spend some of the Quest time on personal growth.
I’m not talking life coaching. Honestly, attentively listening to yourself is the best source of wisdom. Kindness is a good habit, and it can be cultivated.
So I salute everyone honest enough to themselves to know: we have to make room for the good ones. Out with the bad ones. After all, a better, kinder, wiser world can only start with a better, kinder, wiser individual.
I know, these sound like truisms. But you know what? The deep secrets to higher understanding are always hiding in plain sight, protected by the obvious. It’s the simple in the complicated, and vice versa.
Simply Do The Complicated Thing
In fact, the process of successfully breaking a bad habit, stripped to the core (for all added steps and voodoo: view some random self-help book), takes only three steps:
Breaking a (bad) habit:
1: Be honest and understand Why you do it – let the reason be painful.
2: Connect to who you really are and set an important goal; think well about it.
3: Act accordingly and Never look back!
If you give up smoking “because it’s bad for your health”, “because my partner hates the smell of smoke”, “because it’s damaging”, “because it ages me” – whatever, really – this is, for most people, not enough to stay motivated. We all know, smoking is bad; we know some are bothered by our smoking but honestly we’re more inclined to say so what and go on. Also not being able to give it up creates the “weak will” stigma, and we protest even more.
Am I right? 😉
We know that motivation is strongest when it comes from within: the so-called intrinsic motivation – the drive, the decisiveness, the fierce power, the fun flow. And it hails from one simple thing, a Reason, a Desire. That insane, vibrating inner force, the deep conviction that helps you to say yes or no when reaching a crossroads. Your inner compass is aligning your way. Nothing else matters.
My trick here is to understand what really drives the bad habit.
As in: does it remedy a problem, satisfy a need, fill in the emptiness?
Do you feel better doing it? Do you feel stronger, more in charge, more important, more cool?
Less alone, less bored, less un-loved, less lost, less small?
Do you in fact feel bad about yourself: guilt? Self-contempt? Shame? Do you feel like you don’t deserve anything good?
We humans develop the logically strangest triggerst when it comes to our identity, we eat to feel loved, we date ‘cheaper by the dozen’ in order to feel valued.
Ask yourself this painful question and trust me: the answer that hurts the most, the uncomfortable, aching blind spot, the one we chase away (“What, self-contempt, me? Phew, hahaha! No way, I think I really want to feel less bored. Yea, bored. Awful thing, that.“) – that’s the one that usually holds the answer.
And here’s the “magic bullet”:
The place you’re at with your bad habit must stop being a comfort zone; it must feel unbearable to stay there. And sometimes this small movement opens the doors to places so wonderful that you couldn’t even have dreamt of.
That’s why it’s always good to know who you are.
The good answer, the right motivation will make you feel great, in control, authentic, positive about your new decision – making the right decision easier, even if the odds are against you. And the odds are all there: an office full of smokers for those who want to quit smoking, meat-loving family members for those wishing to go veggie, or simply self-loathing people too ready to drag you down for those who try to give up the bad habit of giving up too soon.
But with the right reason backing you, with a ground to stand on, you can’t be bothered.
It’s like another dimension of existence.
Smallish bad habits that try to weaken you?
How can they have the power over you unless you let them?
You are the master of your fate.
Good luck and always remember:
you were born to show the world the real You,
a wonderful, powerful, wise, beautiful,
unique, and connected human being.
No matter where life takes you,
it’s you who takes the wheel.