Why Breaking A Bad Habit Has Little To Do With Discipline

Breaking bad habits tends to be described as an exercise of self-discipline. Self-discipline is the art of controlling oneself and achieving the behaviour you desire. It is not uncommon when you look for strategies to learn and establish self-control in your life to build an essential to-do list. Indeed, for instance, self-discipline begins with an accountability partner who can help you stay on the right path. Indeed, many of us know the importance of a gym buddy when trying to get fit. Whether you agree to meet every week or share your individual results, a buddy motivates you to stick with your fitness routine. 

Similarly, maintaining a healthy lifestyle without plenty of sleep can also help you stay focused on your goals. It’s easier to avoid falling back onto your back habits when you are fully rested. Sleep deprivation affects your behaviour and your ability to make decisions. 

Yet, not everyone manages to break bad habits despite being self-disciplined and committed. As surprising as it might sound, self-control is not sufficient to ditch harmful habits. Indeed, there’s more to a habit than meets the eye.

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You don’t understand your habits components

A habit is a ritualistic behaviour that you create for yourself. Therefore, you have to consider the whole ritual that surrounds the habit to understand its components. For smokers, for example, there’s more than lighting a cigarette. Smoking could be part of a small part of another habit, such as leaving the building to get a moment of peace. When you try to quit smoking, you lose all the benefits of the moment of peace you used to take for yourself. As a result, cravings increase and the bad habit is harder to ditch. So, it can be helpful to address the whole ritual and take the time to understand what it really brings to you. Gradually switching to vape and grind products can help you observe and analyse the ritual until you are ready to replace or remove it. 

You forget the psychological factor

Habits are not always born out of a commodity. Many are created as a psychological defence. We rely on harmful habits as a coping mechanism. Stress encourages smoking. Emotional distress drives emotional eating. In other words, a habit can target an unmet need. If you want to regain control over your bad habits, the first step is to understand the emotional benefit you gain from them. If you don’t replace the coping mechanism, your bad habit will come back. 

You don’t treat yourself with kindness

Ditching bad habits is essential to a journey of self-improvement. The thing about self-improvement is that you should surround yourself with love to succeed. Nobody can grow in a negative environment. Treating yourself with disgust, anger, and shame builds an unhealthy environment for self-growth. 

You only focus on the negative things

Granted, bad habits are bad. The clue is in the name. Yet, breaking a bad habit can take time for a variety of reasons. On the long path of self-improvement, you should focus on the small victories rather than seeing the negative. Giving in once doesn’t cancel your efforts. It’s the beginning of your journey. 

Bad habits stick to us, not because we are lazy or lack self-discipline, but because they serve a purpose. They are part of a ritual or a coping mechanism. Therefore, it’s essential to take the time to understand yourself, love yourself and encourage yourself along the journey.




Cover Photo by Sarah Chai from Pexels



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