Let’s face it. We all have our habits and vices. These can range from being more on the mild, annoying side (like indulging in food we know isn’t healthy for us) to being more serious, and in need of urgent attention (like debilitating drug abuse or alcoholism).
Either way, it’s really nothing worth being ashamed about, and I’m not here to judge anyone. I personally struggled with some pretty serious and problematic vices myself for a large portion of my teenage to young adult life, but was able to quickly turn everything around, once I discovered a few simple things that most people are not fortunate enough to know outright.
I have shared the majority of them with you below, in hopes that they will also aide you in your own personal evolution. Being able to change one’s own behavior, and especially to drop limiting habits is a great key to success in any life endeavor, as many of these habits, left unchecked, can stop your progress altogether.
So, without further ado…
#1 Stop Beating Yourself Up
I can’t tell you how many smokers I’ve met in my life that will apologetically, or even shamefully, say something like “This is such a nasty habit” or “My god these cigarettes are killing me slowly” every time they light up. Even if I don’t think that smoking is good for them, I’ll often times disagree with their statement when I hear it, because I know how harmful this is to them, and how much harder it will make it for them to ever quit. Beating yourself up over a habit that you have, that you don’t want anymore, is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make.
First off, if you have an unhealthy habit, you’re already facing the odds against having at least some sort of negative side effect from it, if not a mild one, but when you add the creative power of your mind and words to a negative statement like “This cigarette is going to give me cancer”, you’re almost asking for a problem.
Secondly, adding emotions like shame, self-loathing, and powerlessness to the situation is only going to perpetuate the negative or limiting thought pattern that perpetuated the bad habit in the first place. These negative emotions actually give power to the problem, and make the issue bigger than it was in the first place.
It’s ok! You’re still a good person, a strong-willed person, and an honorable person. So you’ve got some sort of habit, so does everyone else! Your acceptance of your own human imperfection is just what you need to give you the power to overcome it.
#2 Embrace the Positive Side
This is similar to not beating yourself up, but actually takes it a step further. Not only should you stop ripping on yourself, but you should allow yourself to enjoy the positive side of whatever you are indulging yourself in.
Why? It gets you to stop resisting it with all your might! Resistance=Persistence. Again, anything you resist, and despise, and hate, is only being given a large amount of power and credibility in your mind. If it isn’t a big deal, if it’s not a threat to you, you can just look at it and let it be what it is. It’s only when you start RESISTING something that all of a sudden it turns into a powerful foe, one that sucks your energy and doesn’t go away.
Also, I want you to really think about what you’re telling yourself at a deep level when you simultaneously tell yourself how much you don’t want to do something, while you’re doing it. The smoker says “God I’ve gotta quit smoking” and lights up a cigarette. The overeater says “I hate myself for doing this” and eats more than a serving of ice cream. The heavy drinker says “I wish I could stay sober” and then gets drunk.
Do you realize how powerless you are making yourself out to be? I promise you, if you didn’t get anything at all out of these vices, you wouldn’t indulge in them. You don’t just hate this thing you do. A part of you loves it, and that is why you keep doing it. It’s not because you’re this horribly pathetic, powerless creature with no self control at all.
So understand that when you’re giving in to your habit, that you’re doing it because you get something out of it. At least part of you is enjoying it, so at least give yourself that! Allow yourself to feel good. And understand that talking about how much you hate your habit, while you’re indulging in it at the same time is just like sitting yourself down, closing your eyes, and repeating “I have absolutely no power or self-control” over and over again. Not a healthy affirmation is it?
#3 Replace it With a Healthy Habit
It is a lot easier to replace a habit with another one than it is to simply drop it cold turkey. Whatever habit you are overcoming has had a purpose in your life, whether it’s to take up spare time, keep you from being bored, help you feel better when you’re down, or relieve stress. If you just try to “drop it”, there’s going to be an empty space. One that just begs for you to pick the habit back up the second you’re faced with it.
Fill that space up right away with a new, healthy habit like going to the gym, going for a hike or a walk, talking to a family member or a good friend on the phone, creating something like music, poetry, a business, etc. Usually it works best if you can replace the habit with something similar. For example, if you have a drinking habit, you can replace it by drinking fresh juice, or smoothies instead. Of course it’s not the same, but at least you have that old familiar feeling of filling your stomach with an enjoyable beverage.
Also, if you are recovering from a substance abuse issue, it is very important that you find a new, healthy way to get those endorphins, and feel-good neurochemicals that you are now used to. If you just quit cold turkey, you’re going to experience a drop in the amount of serotonin and dopeamine in your brain, which will leave you feeling down, depressed, and wanting to use again. But if you can find a good way to get these same neurochemicals right when you quit, the transition will be easier. Exercise works well for this, as does meditation (especially with brainwave entrainment), along with yogic breathing and energy work practices.
#4 Charge and Balance Your Energy System
Rather than focusing on not doing what is unhealthy, instead focus on doing things that are healthy for you. Once you make it to a place where you are continually living a healthy lifestyle, these unhealthy, or not useful habits will start to fall away on their own accord, because they will not longer vibrate and resonate with your overall energetic flow. Thus, you will stop gaining pleasure from them, and will be able to effortlessly drop them.
The best method for raising your vibration to a higher, healthier level is to work directly with the electromagnetic energy system of your body. This includes the chakra system, the aura, and the system of meridians and channels that carry this energy throughout the whole system.
There are many different methods for working with and charging your energy body, a few of the more effective are Chi Gong, Hatha Yoga, Pranayama Yoga, Kundalinin Yoga, Rebirthing Breathwork (energy breathing), sound and color therapy, and acupuncture.
Not only is this one of the easiest ways to naturally drop bad habits, but it is also beneficial to you for a multitude of other reasons. It balances your emotional state, gives you enhanced mental clarity, and improves your physical health and vitality.
#5 Increase Your Awareness
It is a well-known fact in the self-development world that awareness in and of itself is incrediblytransformational. The truth of the matter is that nobody is able to consciously do something that is harmful to themselves on a regular basis. The only reason we are able to indulge in less than healthy habits and lifestyle choices is because we are, to a certain extent, unaware.
From now on, when you engage in an activity that you would like to stop doing, first practice steps one and two. Once you are in a place that you are no longer resisting or fighting yourself, you have an opportunity to get a very clear and conscious insight into the whole process. Pay attention to how you feel, what you are thinking, what situations and events led you to take the action you took, and how you feel during and afterwards.
By adding this type of observation on a regular basis, you may be surprised to find a whole network of repressed emotional reactions, beliefs, thought systems, etc., that are contributing to this unhealthy habit. It is almost magical how uncovering the previously unconscious mechanisms that perpetuate these types of habits will almost automatically resolve the issue.
Acceptance + Awareness = Resolution
If you know me, then you probably already knew I was going to throw meditation in here. Why?
Pertaining to #5 above, meditation is the absolute best way to increase self awareness. When you add a consistent meditation practice to the other tips, you begin to uncover subconscious motivators and limiting thoughts/beliefs very quickly. A good meditation practice will almost shove these types of limitations up to the surface of your awareness, whether you want it to or not.
On top of that, meditation will also tune your energy system, and add to the process of raising your vibration, so your habits can effortlessly fall away. In essence, #4 and #5 are two sides of the same coin, both of which are greatly aided and accelerated through meditation
#7 Listen to Brainwave Entrainment
Brainwave entrainment is comparable to meditation on steroids. This means you can get the results of deep, profound, disciplined meditation simply from putting on a pair of headphones and listening to an audio track with your eyes closed. This may sound too good to be true, but it has been proven to work scientifically with EEG data since as far back as the 80’s. (To learn more about brainwave entrainment and how it works, visit our Knowledge and Resources section.)
When you begin to listen to brainwave entrainment daily, the mind begins to go through a process where self-awareness is increased, and subconscious material that had previously been unknown begins to rise to the surface of your consciousness. When this happens, you are able to overcome obstacles and limitations very quickly, as you are able to see what these obstacles and limitations are, and how they have been affecting you and the workings of your mind.
Aside from this, brainwave entrainment also has a tendency to stimulate the brain to produce large amounts of endorphins, pleasurable neurochemicals, and beneficial hormones. These naturally produce substances are incredibly helpful in helping one make the transition from unhealthy habits to a more healthy lifestyle.
So now you have been given some very key and important knowledge to help you overcome addictive and unhealthy habits. The last step is to ACT! So be sure that after you have digested and researched this information, that you are putting it to use. Often times it is all about just making that simple, necessary shift in your perception to get these issues resolved.
Good luck to you, and here’s to your future freedom of lifestyle choice.