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How to Break Bad Habits


We are all creatures of habit and once you’ve got into a bad one it can seem almost impossible to break it.  But of course there’s no such word as ‘can’t’ and if you want to know how to break bad habits you just need some self-understanding and positive intention.



There are all sorts of bad habits you may want to tackle.  These can include:
•    Smoking
•    Drinking alcohol
•    Spending too much money
•    Gambling
•    Spending too much time on the Net
•    Eating too much
•    Saying ‘yes’ when you mean ‘no’
•    Repeating negative relationship patterns
•    Giving in to fears
•    Not exercising
These are just a few of the bad habits that you could have.  There are plenty more.  Bad habits are part of being human but the good news is that they can be broken.


The first step in quitting bad habits is to acknowledge that you have one, or some, and to make a commitment to changes.  If you have several that you want to alter it may be best to pick the one you most want to be freed from and sort that.  You can then go from strength to strength, quitting bad habits one by one. 

Remember, it takes some days or weeks for the new, good habits to become established, and for a while you could feel strange.  However, each time you affirm your good habit by repeating it, you are coming closer to total freedom.

Once you have kept up your good habit for a fortnight or so, the neural pathways in your brain will start to change, and your chosen behaviour will begin to become second nature.

If you want to make major changes, then help from counselling, hypnotherapy and/or Emotional Freedom Technique will be invaluable.  You will also be able to get support from our supportive and understanding Readers at TheCircle.

Friends and family are an important part of quitting bad habits.  Of course you may not want everyone to know about your plans, preferring to surprise them with the new ‘you’.  But sometimes it can be a good idea to have a ‘buddy’.  If you are giving up smoking or going on a diet, for instance, someone to call when you feel you’re going to succumb to temptation can be what stops you falling off the wagon.


You may believe that if you could change your bad habit you will feel much better about yourself, but really it’s the other way round.  Having good self-esteem gives you the faith that you can overcome bad habits.  On the other hand if you fail in your attempt to give up bad habits, then your confidence may plummet, making the task even harder.

Believing that you have poor will-power can damage your emotional health.  However, the force of your will is tiny compared to your imagination.  Never tell yourself you must be strong-willed.  Don’t compromise your self-esteem by berating yourself for your weakness.  Instead focus on the wonderful power of your imagination to move you onwards.

Foster your mental wellbeing with positive visualisation.  Imagine yourself free from the habit.  Do this in detail, each night before you go to sleep and each morning when you wake up.  See yourself habit-free as clearly as you can.  Feel it, taste it, touch it – even hear it.  Imagine people making admiring comments.  Experience the uplifting sensation of quitting bad habits.  In this way you are making it real.

If you experience a dodgy moment when you think you’re going to slip, take time out from your day for some positive visualisation.  A moment spent imagining what you want to be is worth hours of internal struggle.

Take care also whom you spend time with.  Your mental wellbeing and emotional health are always affected by those around you.  The last thing you want, when quitting bad habits, is to have those close to you telling you that you can’t do it, and even tempting you off your new path.  Remember, people often have their own agendas and may want to see you fail, even though they care for you.  This could be because they are envious.  Maybe they have bad habits they would like to break, and seeing you overcoming yours could make them feel uncomfortable.


Of course life must go on as normal when you’re making changes.  However, there is no point making it more difficult for yourself than it needs to be.  For instance, if you are giving up chocolate, don’t have it in the house and tell people not to give it to you.  If you are giving up a destructive relationship, don’t go to the places you shared romantic moments in order to relive them, and have a good cry.

Whatever you are quitting, always look after your mental wellbeing and emotional health first.  Protect yourself, be patient and sensible.  If there is any mourning, or re-evaluating to be done, there will be time for that once you have moved on.


In this article we’ve looked at how to break bad habits.  It’s obvious that this depends on several factors: 
1)    Being clear about the habit and recognising it as bad
2)    Committing to changing
3)    Starting with emotional health, mental wellbeing and the power of imagination
4)    Backing up your resolve in practical ways.

Good luck on your new path, and remember we’re always here at TheCircle, to support you.


PUBLISHED: 4 January 2016

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