Breaking bad habits is the hardest thing in the world. We are all creatures of habit: The habit of our thoughts, our deeds, and our actions. When we are children we are free of these. Children’s thoughts and actions flow seamlessly, somewhat randomly, in no particular order and that is good because they aren’t constrained by anything. As we get older, our lives get more rigid and structured, and we remain confined to what is familiar to us. We humans tend to take the easy way. We just do what we are habitually used to. When this happens, it means that people have stopped growing. This is the moment a person has died.
We must habitually force change upon ourselves if we are to change our destiny. Everything in nature keeps evolving. Time never stops. So why should we ever stop? It doesn’t make sense not to further our growth. If we are to remain the same and keep on doing the same things for 5 or 7 years without any growth, that is a waste of time. What good is it if there is no evolution or growth. These people have forgotten that we are here to learn, to use this life to experience as much as possible.
The Dangers of Being Programmed
I understand that this mass programming of media has distracted us. This cultural programming made us all dormant by looking at our screens. These people just sit there watching Tiktok, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Netflix, for hours and hours. When this becomes a habit, these people are rendered useless. This ceases their creative thinking and problem solving abilities. It kills their will to take any kind action.
They continuously allow themselves to be programmed by the content makers which instill in them subliminal messages that is addictive to the brain. That’s why these people can’t stop watching these platforms because when they are off these platforms in real life, they are not being fed these subliminal messages. When they are not fed these messages, they crave it so they then turn back and start binge watching again, absorbing all of the subliminal content. Habits are so dangerous that it can literally kill a man and render him useless.
Habits Can Kill You
Some habits are good but some of them can kill us. If anything becomes a habit, no matter how deadly it is, it’s very hard to stop. Say for instance drug addiction. People who are using know that it’s bad for them but they still keep on doing it because that’s what they’re used to. That’s what they’ve programmed themselves to do. Even when they know it, people continue to kill themselves with their habits.
These habits kill them hour by hour, day by day. They stick with what they are habitually used to doing, too lazy to change, or maybe unable to change because they don’t see any other options. These people remain helpless as their habitual thought patterns and actions hold their will hostage. They remain on auto-pilot for the rest of their lives, knowing fully well that their habits are killing them. They have lost their will to take control of their life, their brains remaining on auto-pilot. Very similar to a broken record, I call these people the living dead.
In other words, we do self-harming bad habits because that’s the only way we know how to release unwanted emotions or hurts. By harming ourselves with these bad habits, we are able to numb the sensation, and to get away from it temporarily. But then again, if we don’t know how to release our unwanted emotions in a natural and healthy way, we will always fall back into this trap of bad habits. This goes for people who overeat, sex-addicts, drug-addicts, people who do self-harm, those who bully others, those who are constantly angry at the world, those who are constantly negative to others. Everything is a habit.
Our Reptilian Brain: The Brain of Survival
Habits in a way were meant to increase our chances of survival. But the problem is we live in a very safe world right now. That’s why our habits have gotten kind of construed. Our habits stem from the reptilian brain. It keep the programming in us continually running on auto-pilot until we die. Just imagine, this controls our heart beat, our breathing, and the release of chemicals inside of our bodies. As you can see, our body runs on auto-pilot. Because of this function we are able to live. But when it comes to bad habits, we must first begin to change our thoughts.
What is causing these people not to make a change? It’s blatantly obvious that these bad habits are not having positive effects on their lives but they still continue to do it. Why they do it is the major question. These people must look for what TRIGGERS them to perform these bad habits or what made them that way. Habits are like being in jail, it’s hard to get out of because that is all they know. When one knows what TRIGGERS them to do the bad habit, then whenever that event occurs, they can create a strategy around it. Or the very smart thing is to stay away from those triggers and to purposefully avoid them.
Neural Pathways: How the Brain Works
The brain takes some time to rebuild it’s neural pathways. Habits occur because of how you wired your brain. The more times you perform an action, the more the neural pathways gets wired like that. When something is a habit, it’s normal that your brain goes to the path that you have habitually created in your brain. In order to change your brain pathways, you must experience something new. By experiencing something new or by learning something new, it’s creating new neural pathways in your brain. The more you become habitual in these new experiences, the more these neural pathways would get enlarged. When they get enlarged, these habitual experiences will become a habit.
By refraining from past habits, it shrinks the neural pathways that causes you to do that. So by not doing the past habits and by continuously doing the new habits, you are rewiring your brain so that your new habit is becoming the main path. As they say, when a door closes, another one opens. The concept is the same. Close the door to your old habit and then a new door will be opened.
Breaking Down Habits
Habits can be broken down into 2. By the way this is my own way of classifying habits and noone else’s. The Big Activity Habits are activities that consume longer than 15 minutes. Then there are the Mini Habits that last between 1 minute and 5 minutes. The Big Activity Habits are habits that consume time such as exercising, going to the gym, meditation, reading, or cooking. Mini Habits do not mean small. It just means that it’s done a multiple times a day in short outbursts. Mini Habits can be habits such as smoking, binge eating, cursing, snapping at people, or trolling people online. Mini Habits are the most dangerous.
The brain is very easy to manipulate if you know how it works. Habits are a deal-breaker in life. They either make you or break you. What we must continually do everyday is to replace our bad habits with good habits and as we continue to do this, life itself will improve. Trust me on this. I’ve been there. So here is your plan of action that I have set for you:
- Write down your entire day that just happened
- Writing down what you did the entire day will give you a perspective of who you are because who you are is what you do.
- Look at what you do and think of the habitual things that you do
- There are the Big Activity Habits that you do everyday but what are the Mini Habits that you do in between these activities? For example: You may smoke a cigarette before going back to work. List every single detail of your day to make your habits obvious.
- Write down all your good habits. Big Activity Habits and Mini Habits.
- I say start with the positives because we have a tendency to forget about them. People tend to notice only the negatives in their lives so we are changing that habit by getting you to think positively first. Remember, everything begins with the thoughts so if you rewire your brain to a positive perspective, every thought, every action will change for the better.
- I only say this because I care. I’ve seen far too many people fall victim to their bad habits. They literally killed themselves. And trust me, I’ve warned them many times and I’ve tried to get them to change. Never be one of them.
- Write down all of your bad habits starting with the Big Activity Habits.
- Big Activity Habits are the easiest to change so I’d say start off by eliminating these. Big Activity Habits are activities that take longer than 15 minutes. These are big chunks of time and are done only once or twice a day. You can simply refrain from doing these activities by replacing these with Positive and Healthy Habits which are good for you.
- Now write down all of your bad Mini Habits.
- Mini Habits are what kills people because they are done continuously throughout the day. This will take the most effort to fix because you will have to refrain from doing it the entire day.
- Now you need to figure out when you do these Mini Habits. What triggers them? Often times a certain emotion or situation will trigger that person to perform that bad Mini Habit.
- When you start seeing the triggers, it’s time to dissect them even further.
- Is it a physical location that is triggering you?
- Is it a certain time of day?
- Is it when you see a certain person?
- Is it when you feel a certain way?
- Is it when you encounter some kind of stressful situation?
- Is it because of what you have done?
- Is it because you are bored?
- Now list how long you have been doing each one of these bad habits for
- By seeing how long you have been doing these bad habits, you can tell if they are fully ingrained in you or not. Say, a bad habit that you’ve been doing for a couple of months is easier to fix when compared with a bad habit that you’ve been doing for 10 years. This is because the repetition and frequency that you do the bad habit widens the neural pathway towards that activity. In order to change this the next step is crucial.
- Create an Action Plan so that you don’t do these bad habits.
- Choose a good habit, a healthy habit to replace that bad habit with
- Before you choose a habit, ask yourself “If I continue to do this habit will it improve my life? If I continue to do this for 10 years will it be beneficial?”
- If the habit that you choose passes this test, it’s time to implement this good habit with the bad habit.
- Catch yourself before you do that bad habit and when you start doing that, it’s almost time to say good bye to that bad habit because it’s not going to stay there for long.
- When you catch yourself before that bad habit, refer to your action plan and perform the good habit that you are going to replace that with.
- Trust me it’s going to be hard because at first it won’t be satisfying but get used to the feeling of doing the good habit and get satisfied with it. You almost need to be a little stubborn in this case. Stubborn to the point that you’re never going back. Like when you absolutely refuse to go back to a bad relationship. It’s kind of like that.
- Execute the game plan
- Refrain from the old bad habit and never do it.
- ONLY do the good NEW Habit.
- If it’s not working, it’s something to do with your willpower. Go back to the drawing board (Step #4) and implement another habit instead of the current one. Keep on tweaking the formula until you get it.
- The easiest thing to do is to not do the habit but as humans that’s hard because we are habitual creatures. Become so stubborn and willing to change that you are able to fix your habits by sheer will.
- NEVER GIVE UP. If you fail, always pick yourself back up, and try again. The more times you do it, the higher the chances of success.
If the will to change is stronger than the will to remain the same, you will win. For some people to change, they really need to hit rock bottom. It is your job to fix your life before this happens. Fix your problems fast so that you can move on to the next phase of your life. The faster you change your habits, the faster your life will change. If you want to be stagnant, keep it the same. All I’m going to say is that I told you so.
By breaking bad habits you are changing your destiny. Habits form character and if they are all good, you will be destined to succeed. The more good habits you have, the better your chances of success. Good Habits are your assets. Get rid of your liabilities, your bad habits. Keep your portfolio all positive so that there are only good habits in them. Life is a game and the cards you are dealt with are your habits. Trade the bad cards for the good cards. Do this until all you have are good cards.
I wish you the best,