5 Simple Steps to Break Bad Habits That Are Holding You Back

Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Thrive with 0 Comments
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By Szymon Pelechowicz | Tiny Buddha

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success if found in your daily routine.” ~John C. Maxwell

We all have bad habits. The problem is that many of our habits are so deeply ingrained that we don’t even notice them anymore. If we do, we make excuses to hang onto them.


If you’ve tried to change your habits to no avail, maybe it’s time to try something different. The steps below will help you succeed.

1. Become aware of the status quo.

Does this sound familiar? You set your mind to do something good for yourself. Maybe you tell yourself that you’re going to make better use of your time or lose weight. You’re excited and committed. You set a goal, and you plod ahead.

A few days go by, and you’re doing great. Then something happens to make you fall off the wagon. You feel like a failure. Your goal seems impossible. You go back to your old ways.

This cycle happens over and over again.

Your first mistake is setting a goal without becoming fully aware of your current situation.

You have to define the problem before you can even contemplate a solution.

Instead of jumping straight to change, start by noticing what is going on now. Do this for a week.

Some questions you can answer during your observation include:

  • What is your bad habit?
  • How do you feel when you’re engaging in your bad habit?
  • How do you feel when you’re not doing it?
  • Do you typically do anything before or after the bad habit?
  • Is there a behavior or emotion that brings on the bad habit?
  • Why do you want to break this habit?

It’s not enough to simply read these questions, nodding and telling yourself that you’re going to make an effort to think about them over the next week.

The best way to approach this exercise differently is to take notes. Write in a journal every night, or keep track of the answers to these questions every day on your smartphone. Call a friend to let them know what you observed every day.

The best part of this step is that you can’t fail. You’re not trying to meet a goal; you’re just observing.

The current bad habit I’m trying to fight with is watching too much TV.

I’m telling myself that after work I need to do X, Y, and Z, but I end up watching new episodes of my favorite TV series, then a movie on Netflix. Bam! All evening is gone, and I didn’t do anything productive. From time to time, it’s great to have a free evening and just do nothing, but it shouldn’t be most evenings during the week.

2. Use visualization.

Goals are great. You can’t get to where you’re going if you have no idea what your destination is. However, a goal needs to be more than words on paper to be meaningful.

Many people never achieve their goals because they don’t have a clear picture of what they’ll do when they succeed.

Someone who is trying to break the habit of spending frivolously may have trouble staying away from shopping because they don’t have a specific plan for what they’ll do with the money they save. That person may not have visualized the rewarding feeling of saving money in the first place, so the rewarding feeling of shopping wins out.

Related Article: Balance Your Crown Chakra With This Easy Visualization Exercise

Instead of just setting a verbal goal, feel the outcome with every part of your being. Visualize what your life will be like when you break the habit. What will your daily routine look like? Will there be different people in your life once the habit is broken?

In addition to visualizing the logistics, try to access the emotions you’ll feel when the habit is broken. Will you feel excited, calm, or balanced? Sit with those emotions for some time every day. Conjure them up so that you begin to adopt the motivation for change throughout your body and mind.

What do I see for myself? Working more on my website, changing my job, going to the gym, spending more time with my family and close friends, and feeling more fulfilled and happier with my life.

3. Recognize when you’re making excuses.

Everyone makes excuses, including me.

  • I still have time. I’ll start doing it tomorrow.
  • I did enough this week. It can wait few more days to be done.
  • I don’t have time to do it today (because I wasted it playing games).

The most common excuses in the book? “I can’t” or “I don’t want to.”

What you really mean is, “I don’t do that now, so it seems too hard to change.”

Change is hard, especially when you haven’t yet been rewarded. Change means work.

Related Article: 6 Excuses Your Ego Makes To Sabotage Your Spiritual Growth (Video)

This takes us back to steps 1 and 2. If you are aware of what you’re doing and what’s not working, you can get a better sense of what will work.

Step 1: You notice that you’re starving at work every day at 11:00, and because you’re so busy, you gorge on sweets as soon as you get a chance and feel awful after that.

Step 2: You visualize yourself wearing your favorite suit comfortably all day long once you lose weight and having consistent energy throughout the day to come up with novel ideas at work. This leads to a promotion.

Going through step 1 and two allows you to push past your excuses every time they flood your brain. You know what you want to change and how you’ll feel once you’ve made the change. Now it’s just a matter of challenging the voices that tell you not to do it.

I see myself as a consultant in one of the best companies in the world, traveling around the globe for different projects, solving issues for my clients, improving their solutions. I know that I cannot achieve it sitting in front of the TV watching next episode of Breaking Bad.

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