How Can You Break Bad Habits?

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I have bad habits. I get angry too quickly. I get embarrassed. I hate criticism. I get annoyed at people who criticize me. Why would a personal development author share these faults? Because I am human and I have bad habits. You are human. You probably have a ton of bad habits. Like me. But here is the rub; breaking your bad habits becomes easy if you admit them.

Addictions range from smoking to sex to finding eye-catching images

Addictions range from smoking to sex to finding eye-catching images

I saw a few massive breakthroughs in my life this week. I changed my blog theme. I improved my blog performance and experience. How? I broke one of my bad habits. I accepted criticism. I did not anger. I smiled during feedback. I did not get annoyed. I let someone more skilled than me handle my blog design. I let my bad habit of trying to do it all on my own, go, at least in this instance.

How can you break bad habits?

Breaking Terrible Habits

Be honest with yourself. Be honest with your life. Be honest with your feelings. This is the first step to breaking bad habits.

Honestly Assess Your Life

Are you happy? If not your habits are breaking you. Your habits can make you too. See above example. I received nudges to change my blog theme over years. Many people thought it looked bad. Some thought it looked terrible. To those folks I formed the habit of saying “Fuck You” in my mind then I ignored them.

After falling into this damaging habit routine for years I finally broke the habit last week. When my friend Amal suggested I change my theme I said, “Sure”, which led to him overhauling my blog entirely.

I had to honestly assess my life though. I needed a change. I needed a new theme. I needed a new look. Personal development and habit breaking is all about looking at yourself in the light of truth.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Am I happy?
  • What bad habits are leading to my unhappiness?
  • Who around me can effectively provide me with feedback about my life?
  • Do I shy away from criticism(people might be reminding you of your bad habits)
  • Am I lazy?
  • Do I fall in love with my comfort zones?

These are a few simple questions to kick around.

Me, I love working. So much so that for a while I never meditated or did personal development. That all changed when I came back from my SE Asia trip. I had a mild mental breakdown near the end of the trip due to some poor personal development habits. I worked but rarely stopped to gauge my feelings. Not good.

So after breaking down I asked a few questions from the list above. Then I waited for honest answers. I ignored meditating. I fell into the old trap of trying to control circumstances. When that did not work I crashed and burned. Lesson learned.

Exercising. Another good habit. Here I am yesterday walking around Pondicherry, India.

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So I formed the habit of meditating daily for 30 minutes and I have been at it since late March, meaning I have mediated for 30 minutes daily each of the past 6 months.

Good Habit

One good habit can cancel out 1,000 bad habits. Like take meditating. I promote my peace of mind, happiness and calm confidence by meditating. I also largely cancel out the bad habits of:

  • worrying
  • attaching heavily to outcomes
  • rushing through my day
  • doing a shoddy job because I am rushing through my day

See how nicely this works? If you engage in a bit of personal development things can turn around in your life quickly.

Uncomfortable Moments

I will not lie; at times during my meditations I wanted to leave my body. I wanted to all but jump off of the roof. Letting go the old and worn out can be disastrous for your ego – which is a good thing – so your ego fights and fight and clings to the old habit, reminding you of all the bad things that will happen if you let go and truth and develop high energy habits.

Hey. If this were easy then everybody would be happy and successful. But it is not easy at times. Breaking bad habits can be damn uncomfortable.

Practical Tip: Learn how to be present when the feelings arise. Meditate frequently to become aware of your feelings. Most people will just say screw this!….and quit when they want more than anything to eat a cookie, or smoke a cigarette, or drink a beer….or when they want to skip writing a blog post because nobody is listening.

“Stick around for your feelings if you want to see what’s stopping you.” ~ Ryan Biddulph

Sit with the anger, frustration and pain, and the feelings will pass.

Replace with New Habits Immediately

I reduced my word count to 800 or so per post the other day. So to instill this new habit I am hitting “publish” on each post after 800-900 words. Why? To develop a new habit.

Program yourself. Reach for an apple instead of a smoke. Meditate instead of picking up the newspaper. Do your new habit until your new habit become old hat.

Then sit with the unpleasant feelings until they pass. The feelings come and go. I promise.

How do you break old, bad habits?

What can you do to develop new habits?

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Ryan Biddulph

Former fired security guard and current world traveler, Ryan Biddulph went from having a net worth of 4 cents to generating steady cash flow online while living in tropical paradises like Bali, Phuket and Hoi An.

Add trips to: Costa Rica, Peru, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar and you have the makings of a serious travel junkie. Sometimes he stops by his home state in NJ too. Ryan enjoys working out, meditating, taming tigers, feeding wild monkeys and helping you to make money blogging.
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