How to break bad habits (a step by step approach)

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why do lots of people fail to break bad habits?

Most people decide to break a bad habits after they get a positive charge of motivation that motivates them to break the bad habit.

As a result of thinking that will power and persistence is all what’s needed to break a bad habit people try to use them both to stop the habit but they end up confused when they finds themselves returning to the bad habit once again. (see How to stop bad habits).

After people return back to the bad habit once again they blame their will power because they don't understand that there are lots of other psychological factors behind bad habits that are not by any means related to will power.

Step one understanding the dynamics of bad habits

Do you know that sometimes a bad habit can be an unconscious declaration of defeat?
The person who fails to achieve a certain goal in life might give himself the unconscious permission to do the bad habit. The person thinks that his life is already going in the wrong direction and so it wouldn’t make a difference if something else went wrong.

This happens on the subconscious level in such a way that the person never notices that the desire to do the habit was just a declaration of defeat and not a will power issue.

Bad habits can also be the result of being unable to tolerate bad moods, wanting to escape, lacking control of one’s life, having emotional unmet needs, denying something that happened or giving up your dreams. (see Underlying causes for bad habits).

In my book The ultimate guide to break any bad habit i explained how people develop bad habits to cope with the unwanted emotions they have without being aware that their bad habits are the result of the lack of their coping abilities!!

In order for those people to break bad habits they need to learn how to cope with life events that results in the emotional turmoil that forces them to do the bad habit.

Step two: How to break bad habits

The only way to permanently break a bad habit is to understand why you are doing it. No you aren’t smoking because you enjoy smoking and you don’t binge because you love food but there are certain psychological factors that force you to do such bad habits. (see Why do people smoke and Why can't i stop eating).

Whenever you are about to do a bad habit ask yourself these questions:
why am I doing this bad habit now? What am I trying to fix? What unmet need am I trying to fulfill?

After finding the answers to your questions you should fight the real cause of the bad habit instead of using your will power to break the bad habit itself because its just a symptom of the real cause.

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