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So you want to break a habit? heres how to break bad habits. let’s start with the basics
Habits are behaviors we execute almost automatically, and even when these habits are caught in action it is yet incredibly hard to stop, at best we put off the action for a few hours or days depending on how strong our will power is.
But after a while we find ourselves doing what we don’t want to do, so we call ourselves addicts and blame our lack of “strong will”
However, “strong will” is the problem
HOW “STRONG WILL” HOLDS US BACK
Its normal to think that building strong will power is the key to conquering bad habits, but no, it’s the cause of the entire problem, its what keeps us saying things like “I can’t make a decision”, “shit!, I’m an addict” or “I can’t help myself”, which indirectly convinces us that we cant break out of the loop.
Let’s say a guy decided to stop wearing shoes whenever he went out in the morning, on the first day he walks around town on his ten toes, he meets a lot of people who looked at him in bewilderment, few laughed out loud, and his friends gave him candid advice to put on something.
Now, most people would run back home after the firsts days’ gazes, but not this guy, he has the strongest will power, so he keeps it up for lets say two more days, soon he realizes that his friends have started resenting him and that his foot has actually started getting sore.
a couple of days later, he’s would most likely be sitting on his couch looking at his feet whilst thinking about all the friends he is losing and then say to himself “I’m going to stop not wearing shoes”
now that wouldn’t be hard to execute, would it?
but do you know why this decision to break this course of action is quite easy to execute?
THIS IS HOW IT WORKS
First, humans are “living things”, and one of the characteristics of living things is “Adaptability”. Mountain goats are good at climbing mountains because they live in the mountains, we also don’t go walking around naked because we live in a civilized world
Basically, it is a survival skill to copy what the people around us are doing and follow suit
If all your friends enjoy playing Xbox, you’re most likely to love playing Xbox too. The same goes for smoking, drinking, doing drugs and so on.
Any deviation from the way of life of the people around you would come with social consequences, in a form of what is popularly known as “peer pressure”
Basically, you are in a gang and must act accordingly
Strong will is just like a muscle, it gets tired, and when this happens, we revert to our old ways and then feel worse about ourselves (now you see why it’s a problem). But with the right association, things get much easier because there is no internal conflict, just reinforcements
HOW TO BREAK BAD HABIT FOR GOOD
The first step is changing your association (something I refer to as “Ganging up”), then find a new association that support the habits you want to cultivate or that abhors the habit you want to abandon, then give your self-time
GIVE YOURSELF TIME
If you’ve ever played a car racing game, or seen the movie Fast and Furious then you most know about the word “drift”
In case you don’t know
DRIFT: to deviate gently from the intended direction of travel
When moving a car or ship or whatever vessel including your-body at high speeds, a sudden turn to any direction (left, right, up or down) would lead to drifting, because of the force that has been generated by the fast-moving object, a force that is still acting forward (which is not where you want to keep heading)
The same thing occurs with habits, if after changing your associations, you still find yourself drifting towards your old habits, just know that it’s normal, give yourself time, don’t focus on it, it is something that is gradually dying off.
HERES A CHEAT TO HELP YOU GET AHEAD
- An effective way of dealing with addictions is having the right mindset about the whole thing. If a man decides that he wants to stop smoking, he should see himself as “a man” who want to stop smoking, calling himself a “smoker” would simply reinforce the idea that smoking is part of him which really isn’t ( not that I’m against smoking, but lets just say I care about healthy lungs)
- Another effective approach is to label the habit as ”bad”, if you can do this it would be much easier to break the habit. If excessive drinking is considered a source of fun and enjoyment it would be almost impossible to break, but labeling it as a shameful and demeaning act that is ruining your relationships, reputation and health would make it much easier to end
- Tell someone/people about the struggle, let them help you out, you should never underestimate the power of the right gang