How many times do you say you want to stop bad habits or break a pattern like smoking, overeating or nail biting but a month later feel defeated? It can be very discouraging to have success for a week or so and then feel you've regressed.
Don't let this be disheartening as habits are deep-rooted and there may be even family patterns of this problem that make the bad habit reinforced rather than challenged.
The good thing to remember is that habits can be overcome. In eastern philosophy there are a lot of writings about attachment and that we repeat patterns until we realize that they don't make us happy.
Try to reflect upon what you really get from the habit and if it really is fulfilling. Is it just a distraction or a way to hide pain? While you are engaged in the habit try to look at it. This is hard to do and takes a lot of concentration but is very worthwhile.
Willpower can be helpful but insight is key to preventing symptom replacement. It is natural to get in a conflict between our will and desire. We may want to be thinner but also desire the ice cream. It helps to not view what you are giving up as a deprivation but instead to see it as taking away your energy, potential and new life. For instance, visualizing the effects of smoking on your body, the odor in your hair etc is a good way to do this.
In addition to not feeling deprived, focus on what you DO want. Think about the lightness you want to feel when you run after dropping thirty pounds or on the vision of your hands by overcoming nail biting.
Picture yourself in six months from now and how proud you'll be of yourself. Replacing bad habits with good habits is a healthy way to overcome them. Often we feel better when we do this. If you are someone who eats oreos and goes to bed without brushing your teeth, try to commit to brushing them at night for a week. It is very satisfying to feel refreshed before going to bed.
Remember that habits weren't formed overnight and they take time to change, but you can do this and your life will be fuller for doing so.
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