HOW TO BREAK A BAD HABIT

breakingbadhabitStudies have shown that over 90% of what we do everyday is out of habit. Human beings are creatures of habit, which is a very helpful ability in many ways.

Imagine for example having to think every day about how to brush your teeth, or how to climb the stairs. These are things we do without even thinking because they've become part of our habits. In that sense, habits are good because they free our minds from having to think about every little thing we do.


The problem is when we develop a bad habit. Bad habits can, without you noticing it, destroy your life little by little.

Habits are hard to break. But if you want to break a habit, one rule is to design your environment in such a way that makes it impossible to practice it.

For example, I wanted to get into the habit of using an electric toothbrush instead of a regular one. As long as I kept both on my bathroom sink top, guess which one I'd reach for every time? Yep, the regular one. It was instinctive. Although I knew I wanted to use the electric one, my mind would immediately tell me, "Why trouble yourself? Why make me think? Just go for what you're used to." (Now you understand why people stay in their comfort zone!)

Then I make a simple decision to put away the regular brush and leave only the electric one on my sink top. Suddenly, at the time of brushing, it became more troublesome for me to go get the regular brush than just reach for the electric one under my nose and use it. I did that for a month, and guess what, it became a habit.

Although the above is a simple example, the principle is the same to break any kind of habit. It's what expensive rehab centers do. People pay thousands of dollars for what? To go to a rehab where the environment makes it impossible for them to keep practicing their habit. And why do most rehab treatments fail in the long run? Because most people leave the rehab and go back to the old environment and circumstances that lead them right back to the old habit!

So, if your habits define your life, identifying your bad habits and replacing them with good ones is one of the best investments you can make in yourself.


Outsmart your lazy mind by redesigning your environment and circumstances to make it impossible to keep the old habit, forcing yourself to do the new thing instead.

Stick to it for at least 40 days (a magic period for forming a new habit) and you will be free from that old habit.



Pr. Renato Cardoso

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