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How to Break a Bad Habit

Huge cottonwood tree with leaves draped in front of it.
Huge cottonwood tree

Breaking a bad habit can be hard. That's why I was glad to learn a different way to do it.


The different way is simple. Don't try to break the bad habit at all. Instead of focusing on it, think of a new habit you want to replace it with.


That sounds too simple, but I tried it, and it worked for me! It doesn't cost you any money, just a little bit of time, and not much of that.


If you've ever been around people who drive you crazy, it's easy to see their flaws. It's hard not to say something negative to them. The bad habit I wanted to replace was feeling upset every time I had to be around a certain person. Things the person did and said had a way of setting me off. Before I knew it, I could feel myself boiling over with frustration. That person really bugged me!


I had tried before to change the way I reacted to this person, but it didn't work. I was doing what a lot of us do when we try to get rid of a habit. We try to fight it, break it, get rid of it. The problem is that when we do that, we're thinking about the bad habit.


When I learned a different method to try, I was ready! Instead of focusing on the habit I wanted to break, I focused on a new habit I wanted instead. For me that focus was to see this person through eyes that saw only goodness. I named the person in my mind and said, "I see ____ through eyes that see only goodness."


There is a second part to the method, and this part is the most important. After you make that statement, take a deep breath and say, "I have the new habit."


If that's still a little challenging, try meditating on it for a few minutes. Meditating can sometimes be easier if you stand or sit near a tree. Say the new habit you want to form. Then look at the tree. Notice all its beautiful details. Feel calmness settle over. Then take a deep breath and say, "I have the new habit."


You may need to say this to yourself a few times for the next few days. You don't have to be near a tree to say it. You can think it in your mind if you're at work or in a public place.


If the old habit tries to creep back, don't focus on it. Don't try to fight it. Just state the new habit. Then take a deep breath and say, "I have the new habit."


Give it a try. It worked for me. I think it could work for you too.

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