Breaking Bad Habits, a Two Step Process
How do you break a habit? Answer: Many things we do, both beneficial and not, are "habits"---things we often do automatically, for instance, brushing our teeth before bed. Changing most habits require much more than simple will power. The first step is to understand that everything we do has a positive consequence. Consider the man who bangs his head into a wall, because it feels so good when he stops. Consequently, the first step is to figure out what the positive consequence is that is maintaining the behavior and other ways to satisfy that need. The second step is to realize that we do not change until we are sufficiently uncomfortable staying the same. Change causes an upheaval or crisis of sorts in our lives. In order to put ourselves through that, we must have a good reason---not just a whim. Unfortunately, change is not only uncomfortable, but it also takes 30 days to break (or form a new) habit. Once we embark upon this mission to change, we need to make the behavior more conscious than automatic, and add behaviors that perform the same function, but, at the same time, prevent the old habit. To make the behavior more conscious, people need to interrupt the automatic response. The easiest way to do this is to make it difficult to get to engage in the behavior. For instance, smoking—make it difficult to get cigarettes (i.e. keep them in the car, at the office or just do not buy them).
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