How to Break a Negative Habit

iStock_000022421593XSmallResolutions for breaking a negative habit are abundant – it’s the follow through that matters.  But, are you truly prepared for what breaking a negative habits entails so you can ensure your success?  It is all too easy for self-sabotage to take control over the situation and leave you feeling as if you failed when really all you may be guilty of is failing to plan properly.

Resolutions are all fine and dandy, but they are only intentions.  However, it is our resolve that will see us through the rough patches and into the homestretch towards making real progress so we may overcome the negative habit patterns.  Breaking a negative habit down from a whole into identifying the patterns we follow can make the task less daunting and more manageable.

To overcome the task of reaching the summit of a large hill, our natural inclination would be to take long, quick strides in an attempt to reach the top as quickly as possible.  However, the truth of the matter is that if we want to reach the top with a greater amount of ease then we have only but to point our eyes down and focus on the ground while shortening the length of our steps. Before we know it, we will have reached the hills summit with less effort than if we attempted to overcome it with large quick steps since the later method will cause us to tire more quickly and lose sight of the aim, or goal.

Regardless of what your negative habit is (i.e., smoking, overeating, drugs, drinking, gambling, sex, complaining, being a push over, procrastinating, poor listening, limited point of view, etc.), admitting to yourself that it needs to stop is where resolving each one of them starts.   The next useful step you can take to break a negative habit lies in identifying what triggers you to partake of the negative action.  Keeping a journal of when you are prompted to eat may reveal to you that you are not eating because you are hungry, but rather, the cause could be an emotional reaction that you could overcome simply by speaking up for yourself.

As we learn in Mental Warrior Training, it is within the quiet moments that pass in-between our thoughts where we have the chance to express our freedom of choice.  For example, between the thought that says, “I am hungry,” and the one that says to us “I think I will go get a hamburger,” there is room for us to intervene and redirect our choice to a healthier alternative.  If you discover food convenience is your nemesis, realizing it is just as easy to choose a grilled chicken sandwich can be a good place to start.

In the case of smoking, there are many chances to choose an alternative action to take in place of the negative habit.  Before a cigarette is lit, while it is being removed from the pack, while searching for a lighter, all are times that provide an opportunity for us to shift our attention and  replace the habit with an alternative distraction until the transition to non-smoking is achieved.

Finally, listing the positive and negative outcomes you will experience if you continue your bad habit can quickly put things in perspective for you while providing additional motivation to see you through to your goal of breaking free from negative habits that are costing you more than they are worth.

How to Break a Negative Habit