Breaking habits

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

breaking habits

How many times have you decided to break a habit then failed to do it?
How many times have you said that you will change then few days later you returned back to your old habits?
How many times have you felt so guilty because of doing a bad habit then few weeks later you did it again?

If your answers were yes, then know that you are not an exception because most people do the same mistakes which prevents them to from quitting habits successfully.

This article will help you change your behavior by informing you about a fatal mistake that can prevent you from breaking bad habits.

Guilt is not enough when it comes to breaking habits

The problem with guilt is that it fades away quickly as the time passes. If you tried to break a habit because you feel guilty then you will succeed in doing so as long as guilt is still present but as soon as guilt disappears, which usually happens in few days, your bad habit will return.

In my book The ultimate guide to maintaining a healthy relationship I explained that guilt is a powerful emotion and that it can be used maintain a healthy relationship.

By not shouting at your spouse when he shouts at you he will feel guilty then few minutes later he will say sorry. So guilt can be useful when you want to motivate someone to do a task once, but when it comes to permanently stopping a bad habit then certainly guilt won't work.

If you want to break a habit then you must know that guilt is not enough, instead you should look for the root cause behind the habit. If for example your bad habit is anger then you must find out what goal you are trying to reach by becoming angry.

Are you protecting your ego? are you angry at life and just projecting your anger on others? As soon as you discover the root cause behind the bad habit breaking it will be an easy task.

Deciding to quit is not enough to break the bad habit

When someone decides to quit smoking he usually tears the last pack apart, throws it out of the window and he stops smoking that day completely But few days later, when a friend smokes in front of him he returns back to his old habit in seconds.

Again if that smoker tried to understand the reasons that motivated him to smoke in the first place then breaking his habit might become an easy task.

For example, some teens smoke to satisfy the need of being more masculine. If that teen found a way to feel more masculine he might not even think about smoking once again.

According to psychology each bad habit serves an important purpose, if you found a way to attain that purpose without doing the bad habit then quitting it will be an easy task.

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