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How to Break a Bad Habit - BeliefWorks Blog

Are Your Beliefs Holding You Back?

How to Break a Bad Habit

Kaley writes: I have a bad habit that I’d love to break. After the each meal is over, I snack on this and that. After dinner I snack until I go to bed. I know how to eat sensibly, but the snacking sabotages it and keeps my weight way above where it should be. I get mad at myself when I snack and stop for a few days, but then start right back up. I have tried everything I can think of. Is there a belief I need to change?

Kaley, your question seems to be about changing a habit that isn’t good for you – a habit that harms you.

First of all, a habit is a routine, a behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously. So if your “habit” is unconscious, my question is simply this – What’s driving it?

Here is my experience with breaking a habit: “A long time ago I smoked cigarettes. Although I only smoked a few cigarettes a day, I had come to despise the habit. About that time, the government began to force cigarette manufacturers to publicize the health hazards of smoking and print warnings on the package. Even the pack of cigarettes said smoking was bad for you! I had all the information I needed to make a decision to quit smoking, but I just couldn’t stop. I would quit for a few days, buy a pack, smoke a few cigarettes, and then throw the pack away disgusted with myself. I tried everything there was on the market to help me quit smoking. I bought nicotine gum, books, tapes, and took special supplements. I even tried hypnosis, but none of it helped. Sometimes I would quit for weeks. The physical addiction to the nicotine would subside, but something much more powerful was pulling me back into the habit. My level of frustration became enormous.

One night as I was drifting off to sleep I heard an unfamiliar voice from deep within me say, You’re afraid to embrace LIFE! You can’t breathe deeply without the smoke to calm your fear. You live in the shadows. You don’t care whether you live or die.

I immediately dismissed the thought as preposterous. “Of course I care. I want to live!” I said to myself. But as the days passed I started to look carefully at this thought that had risen from a level well below what I was conscious of.

You don’t care whether you live or die.

The words haunted me. When I stopped denying it, something emerged from me. I became aware of a hidden memory that now existed only as a long-forgotten dream. There was a part of me that believed exactly what I had discovered. It was true and yet it had been invisible to me.

That awareness was startling and yet very powerful. Maybe I believed it, but with awareness I could make a choice to no longer agree with it. The part of me that believed it was from another time in my life. Once I understood that, I stopped smoking immediately. The battle was over. It was never about smoking. It was all about what I had believed.” {Excerpted from: The Toltec Secret to Happiness}

What I discovered was that I was trapped in a harmful habit because of what I believed. Once I saw that it was easy to break the habit.

Trying to break a bad habit (or any limiting behavior for that matter) by deciding you need to make a change is an important first step – but there is more. Putting a note on your mirror to remind you of what you need to do (or not do) isn’t all there is to it. When you only address the behavior you want to change by deciding to do something different, you ignore what is driving your behavior.

Changing a habit requires modifying the hidden agreements you have made with yourself. If you want to achieve change that lasts, you also need to change what you believe.

With Many Blessings,

Ray

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4 Responses to “How to Break a Bad Habit”

  1. Helene March 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    How do we discover what “hidden agreements” we have made with ourselves?

    • Ray Dodd March 2, 2014 at 12:37 am #

      Great question. Like all things of great value, it’s a process. Have you read: The Toltec Secret to Happiness (or The Power of Belief)? The process is explained there. It takes some effort. We would be glad to support in anyway we can.

  2. Linda March 1, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    This article on breaking a bad habit, is exactly what I needed today. I am addicted physically to cigarettes, but my spirit knows that I am addicted to men. And usually to men that do not respect me. I thank you for this article. It is a blessing to me TODAY..

    • Ray Dodd March 2, 2014 at 12:35 am #

      Thank you for your very insightful comment. You said that you are addicted to men that don’t respect you – isn’t that a reflection of your inner belief about yourself? Once you heal the belief that doesn’t respect Linda you will stop smoking.

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