A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.
Habits are our settled patterns which are repeated regularly without much effort. We are all creatures of habit. There is no exception to this rule of nature.
Some of our habits are so ingrained in us that we could act them out for weeks, months or even years without making any conscious decision to engage in them.
The strange thing about habits is that we created them but after a while, they end up controlling us and our results in life. Although our habits seem to control us they are not entirely our masters. We are still in charge.
We govern our habits with our will. With the knowledge that we govern our habits with our will, we can create new habits if our current ones no longer serve us.
Creating a new habit requires utilizing the will. If you have never used your will before or formed the habit of using your will regularly, you will struggle to form a new habit. But do not panic, am here to help you.
By the end of this article, you would have fully understood how to break bad habits no matter how deeply rooted they are.
So, how do we break bad habits? Well, my dear reader, the answer to that question is both simple and complicated, but if you want the simple answer, then here it is: A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit. – Eramus
So the simple way to break a bad habit is simply to replace it with the opposite habit but we all know this is easier said than done. If you’ve read to this point, it’s most likely that you have tried to stop a bad habit in the past without success.
If all your previous efforts to break a bad habit has failed, then read on for a well-structured system for ending any bad habit.
The Prerequisite For Breaking Bad Habits And Forming Better Ones
You cannot achieve anything if you don’t meet the prerequisite for that particular thing.
For example, if you have the dream of representing your country in athletics at the Olympics, the prerequisite is that you must have a healthy body that can you can use to exercise and run.
If you’re sickly and weak, your body is no position to engage in physical exercises such as sprint or marathon training. Because you didn’t meet the prerequisite, you won’t be selected for any type of athletics training, let alone, allowed or selected to represent your country at the Olympics.
Everything in life has a prerequisite, the same goes for breaking a bad habit and creating a new one. Luckily for us, the prerequisite are just two. These are:
(1) Make Your Nervous System Your Ally
(2) Keep The Faculty of Effort Alive In You Every Day
(1) Make Your Nervous System Your Ally
The nervous system is a complex collection of nerves and specialized cells known as neurons that transmit signals between different parts of the body. It is essentially the body’s electrical wiring. (Source: Live Science, https://www.livescience.com/ ).
From the simple explanation above, you can easily see how important the nervous system is to every human alive.
Everything will do in the physical and spiritual realm are reflected in our nervous system. Our thoughts and actions affect our nervous system.
Our nervous system is there to help us have a healthy, functioning, fulfilling and blissful life. What most people don’t understand is that their daily actions can help, hinder or even damage their nervous system.
You will struggle to form a new, better habit if your nervous system is damaged or weak. The will is something that resides in the spiritual side of us and is transmitted to our physical being via the nervous system.
A weak or damaged nervous system will not be able to transmit this all-important spiritual component of us called the will, thereby rendering us weak-minded individuals.
A lot of people engage in activities that are detrimental to their nervous system. When these type of people tries to form a new habit, you can predict with a precision that they will fail.
If you’re wondering what actions or behaviours are detrimental to your nervous system, here are some of them:
Use of illicit drugs
Lack of exercise
Consumption of unhealthy foods, including:
- Sugary drinks
- Refined carbs
- Fish high in Mercury
- Foods high in trans fats
- Highly processed foods
- Foods and drinks containing aspartame
There are many things that could harm your nervous system which you can’t control but having a good, healthy lifestyle that involves eating healthy, exercising regularly, and staying away from alcohol and illicit drugs will make your nervous system your ally.
(2) Keep The Faculty of Effort Alive In You Every Day
When was the last time you made a serious effort for something? When was the last time you did something difficult? These are questions you must answer before you are in a position to break any bad habit.
It’s impossible for someone who has never run before or someone who has only run for 800 metres to suddenly run a full marathon without exercise.
If you don’t have the habit of making an effort for anything, you can’t break a bad habit, this’s because breaking a habit requires a lot of effort.
If you’re not in the habit of making an effort for anything, you can start today by making small efforts in the little things. You can start developing the habit of making an effort right now, start by doing something just because it’s difficult.
For you to develop this essential trait for breaking a bad habit, right now schedule your plan for next week and insert activities in it that requires a bit of an effort.
You could add an extra set to your gym routines. You could walk to work instead of using the bus. You could try to be more friendly to a difficult colleague of yours. Just do something simply because it’s difficult. This will keep the faculty of effort alive in you every day.
Now, we’ve covered the prerequisite for breaking bad habits and forming new ones, let’s look at how to actually break bad habits and form better, beneficial ones.
Earlier in this article, I stated that although it seems that our habits are controlling us, we are still the master and governor of our habits. We exercise authority over our habits with the aid of our will.
Our will is a tool we use to govern our habit and it’s this trait, tool, or asset called the will, that we use to break old habits and form better new ones. There are just two steps required to break bad habits and form new ones. I will cover these two steps below.
Step 1: Train Your Will To Do What You Want
Training your will to do what you want is not rocket science. It involves two simple steps. These are (1) Cultivation of Will and (2) Application of Your Will.
(1) Cultivation of Will
To cultivate simply means to acquire or develop. So, in this instance, you are developing your will.
Cultivation of your will simply means you giving yourself simple instructions and obeying them.
For example, if you say “I will wake up at 6:30 AM” but when the alarm went off at 6:30 AM you hit the snooze button instead of waking up, you are not cultivating your will. In fact, whenever you hit the snooze button, you’re destroying your will.
To cultivate your will is to develop your will bit by bit. A child must learn how to walk before he or she can run. Cultivate your will by giving yourself instructions to do little things and execute those “little things” in the manner you agreed on.
For example, you can cultivate your will by simply saying to yourself, “I won’t visit any social media apps until after 12:30 PM everyday.”
This might seem like a small thing to some people but the fact that you kept your promise to yourself will be so beneficial to your will, that, you will find it easy to use your will to do more difficult things.
(2) Application of Your Will
After you have cultivated your will by giving your self simple instructions and obeying them, the next step after this is the proper application of your will.
Your will is one of the most potent and powerful force you have as a human being. You can use it to do miracles, so the proper application of it is vital to your success in life.
How can you properly apply your will? The right application of your will is to use it to control your thoughts and actions.
The right way to use your will is to use it on yourself, to focus your mind and energy on the things you desire. And you can only achieve this by first using your will to control your thoughts.
Once your thoughts are under the control of your will, then you have the power to only think about the things you want to think about instead of having your mind filled with random thoughts.
It’s a scientific fact that your thoughts always dictate your actions, and your actions formed your habits. So, your bad habits first took root in your thought. When you’re able to use your will to control your thoughts to focus on the habits and traits you desire, you automatically starve your bad habits of it life-source.
To use your will to do what you want to do simply requires you to use your will to focus your mind and thoughts on the things you desire.
Step 2: Make A Resolution To Do The Opposite Of What Your Bad Habit Is
Do you know why most people fail to keep their New Year’s resolution? It’s because they don’t even have the will required to keep any resolution. This is like trying to store water in a holey bucket. It’s just a waste of time.
Once you’ve completed Step 1, the next step is to use that strong will you’ve developed to make a resolution to do the complete opposite of your current bad habit.
If you are in the habit of eating junk food, use your will to make a firm resolution that you will only eat healthy foods. If you’re in the habit of procrastinating, use your will to make a firm resolution to always start your task at the scheduled time without delay or excuses.
In this manner, you will focus your thoughts and energy on who you want to be. Energy goes where attention goes. By simply focusing your thoughts on doing the opposite of your current bad habit, your energy will start flowing into this new habit, thereby incorporating it into your being bit by bit.
When you resolve to do the opposite of your current bad habit, ask yourself one simple question whenever you’re about to do anything and the question is: Will a person who possess the new habit I desire do this thing am about to do? If the answer is no, then don’t do it.
Align yourself (thoughts and actions) with your new habit and identify with it. When you do this, you’re ingraining it into your subconscious mind, from there, it will take root and manifest in you.
Habits are like fire. They can be both good and destructive. The good ones make our life experience blissful and the bad ones do the opposite.
To break a bad habit requires two main things: A strong will and a firm resolution to replace the bad habit with its opposite.
Breaking a bad habit is something that requires determination and a rugged will because habits don’t go away easily. They always put up a fight, because they put a fight, is why you must go after the bad ones with aggression and ruthlessness.
Develop your will and then use it to wage a ruthless, no-mercy war on all your bad habits that have been holding you back.
I will leave with a quote by Dr Oppenheim:
If you want to abolish a habit and it accumulated circumstances as well, you must grapple with the matter as earnestly as you would with a physical enemy. You must go into the encounter with all tenacity of determination, with all fierceness of resolve – yea, even with a passion for success that may be called vindictive.
No human enemy can be as insidious, so persevering, as unrelenting as an unfavourable habit. It never sleeps, it needs no rest. It is like a parasite that grows with the growth of the supporting body, and, like a parasite, it can be best killed by violent separation and crushing.
Thanks for reading and please share this article on your social media pages and accounts. Someone might find it useful.
Have a blessed day.