Saturday, September 6, 2008

Walter's Weekend Wisdom

Break a Bad Habit

Tips to be free at last

We've all encountered bad habits along our way. Whether it's trying to give up smoking, an unhealthy relationship, eating too much or making bad decisions that keep us from being our true selves.

If you've ever struggled with letting go of a bad habit, you know that the roadblocks you encounter can seem insurmountable at the time, but once you've let the habit go once and for all, you can't imagine ever having had it in the first place!

Try, try again
Maybe you even gave your bad habit up a couple of times before finally kicking it - and that's okay. When you come to the realization that there is something that no longer serves you, the tendency is to make a quick break and cut it out without regard for the reasons as to why the habit developed in the first place. By doing this, you run the risk of picking it up again.

Instead, look consciously at your habit. What triggers you wanting to do it? Keep a log of your emotional triggers related to the habit to get a better understanding of it. For instance, if you started smoking when you were a rebellious teen and are now trapped in an addictive pattern that you'd like to be free of, try addressing your original intent and if you decide it no longer serves you, let it go in your mind. Then speak it out loud, write it down and release it.

Visualize and scribe
Take more time to concentrate inward on how you feel when you think about quitting. Do you feel panic... relief... calm? Pay attention to your reactions and even write them down. Focus on making peace with them. Next, visualize yourself living your life "bad habit free." Now think about what that feels like. Probably pretty good! Now tell the story of your new (habit free!) life in your journal.

Set a date
To seriously quit something, pick a reasonable date and commit to it. Then keep in mind that one slip does not mean that you're a failure - it means you're learning how to get it right! Don't fall into the trap of thinking that one bad step puts you back at the bottom of the mountain - it doesn't! That's part of climbing and you may fall several more times before reaching your goal.

Regardless of the bad habit that you're struggling with remember that you are on a path of learning. Remember to honor yourself through the process and don't be overly critical. Let go of unrealistic expectations. Look for the underlying reason you are drawn to things. Then accept yourself, flaws and all, as you reveal and let go of the things that no longer work in your life. Good luck!


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