Destructive Habits Be Gone! Freedom in 3 Steps

Defeating a destructive habit is unpleasant. But it can be equally miserable if you don’t. There is incredible value in engaging in what I call “useful hardship”. Allow me to elaborate…

Let’s look at being overweight, as an example. Let’s call it obese vs. healthy weight.

Scenario 1: To remain obese, a person must endure the following struggles:

  • Finding clothes that fit
  • Hide in the house when they want to go out
  • Mitigate symptoms that come with the inevitable, severe health challenges
  • The worry of an early death
  • Low self-esteem and not feeling fully self expressed

Now let’s look at the the flip side…

Scenario 2: To make positive health changes, a person must deal with these struggles:

  • The annoyance of making better food choices
  • Muscle pain from exercising more
  • New expenses to modify your lifestyle, ie. gym membership, different foods, new “skinny” clothes, etc.
  • The intellectual discomfort of figuring it all out

Regardless of which scenario you choose, you are going to feel shitty. Do nothing and feel like crap about your life and body. Do something and suffer the new actions while you make positive changes.

The difference is, one set of actions leads to a healthier, more joyful and more inspired future version of you.

If the weight loss example doesn’t resonate, then know that this works with any habit. Smoking. Overspending. Living in a dirty home. Avoiding social situations. Or whatever issue you might be dealing with.

You’re fooling yourself if you believe that change is harder than no change. Yet it’s not your fault, so be kind to yourself. It’s easy to fall into that trap.

Humans are biologically hardwired to do the same things over and over. Our brain likes repeatability. Especially when the repeated actions lead to an immediate pleasure payoff.

So how do you successfully change a bad habit?

Step 1. Understand that the habitual actions you are taking now are causing you the same amount of pain as new actions. And likely there are many more costs to what you’re doing. Extrapolate out 10 years and see where you’d be. Ask yourself: Do I want this to be my future?

Step 2. Decide who you want to be. Imagine a future where you are free of the habit. Vividly paint the picture in your mind. Capture this on paper. Remind yourself of the new vision every day, especially when you’re tempted to go back to old habits.

Step 3. Focus on small incremental changes only. Make conscious choices moment by moment. Your brain treats massive change as bad. So work with your biology. Very minor behavior shifts make the difference. For example, if you have never exercised much before, go for a 10-minute morning walk to start, not 30 minutes. Slowly work your way up to your goal.

Above all, remember this rule: Make choices based on what you are committed to versus how you feel in the moment.

Remember, feelings are fickle. A little useful hardship will amount to a better future; It will take you out of pain and back to joy, which is your true divine nature.