Bad habits have something in common. Either it’s a cigarette you are reaching for, a cup of coffee, an energy drink, meat or dairy. At some point you feel that something has completely overpowered you. You know you shouldn’t do it, you know that it is not serving you, and you know you want to quit, but why is it that is stronger than your will power and conscious mind?
It’s a strong pattern in your life and it probably took years to form. No wonder why you cannot break it in a day. When you’re stressed, scared, lonely, sad, angry, bored, tired or insecure, you reach out for something that is familiar and gives instant pleasure – a bad habit.
The good news is that you don’t have to depend on those substances to cheer you up for the rest of your life. Rest assured that there are some techniques that can help you quit and live a healthier life.
I quit cigarettes, caffeine, meat, dairy and processed food addictions. I can’t guarantee that it will work for absolutely every person. As with any dependence. I can’t talk about overcoming severe alcoholism or drug addiction simply because I never dealt with those. I can only talk about my own experience. If you are trying to quit smoking, drinking coffee or energy drinks, or eating meat, dairy, or chocolate, please read on as there are tips and tricks that will help you.
- You don’t know or believe that it’s harmful. Though probably all smokers will agree that smoking is bad, however, some meat eaters at this stage will try to convince you that eating meat is absolutely healthy and even necessary for your diet.
- You know that it’s harmful but you still do it. Most smokers, caffeine junkies or food addicts are at this stage – they know that it’s bad but don’t have the resources to quit.
- You start fighting with it. You make a decision to quit but have a cigarette at the next party, buy a cup of coffee after a sleepless night or order some fried chicken because you were super hungry. Then you regret it, beat yourself up, and promise not to do it again, but you still keep fighting with the temptation. This is the hardest stage as it is full of resistance and resentment.
- You quit, and there is no way back. That is your desired destination. Even though it might seem that it is so far away and hard to achieve, you can definitely get there.
I’m going to leave it to you to find out which habits are harmful and which ones are not, so it is your job to go through the stages one and two. You definitely want to be at the stage four. If you don’t ,then none of these techniques will be helpful as they are designed only for those who are ready to change. So I will focus how to get through the stage three.
The reason why the third stage is the hardest is because it is full of resistance. When you are resisting you are not accepting the present reality so you are generating a lot of pain inside. This pain creates a negative energy and makes it even harder for you to make positive changes in your life.
Now let’s get to the practical side. There are some steps that you can take that will help you overcome this stage and get you to your desired destination – freedom from the habit:
- Stop resisting as you’re making it even harder. When you are using just your will power, it is usually just a matter of time when you are going to fall off the wagon. Accept that you have an addiction and fully surrender to it. Surrender doesn’t mean that you put up with the habit and just keep consuming junk food, caffeine or cigarettes. It purely means that you accept your current situation. You can also look at it as an opportunity for personal growth.
- Educate yourself. You need to understand why you want to quit. Do comprehensive research on caffeine, cocoa, meat, dairy or whatever your habit is. It is not enough to know that dairy is just bad for you. Find some detailed information, e.g. it has 59 known hormones that disrupt your hormone system, casein and IGF-1 in dairy makes cancer cells grow rapidly, it produces a lot of mucus in your body and clogs your colon, contributes to kidney stones, plus it contains a lot of puss, blood and fecies. These details are more powerful than just “milk is bad for you”.
- Clarify and define your values. Take some time and do this exercise: Sit down comfortably in a quiet cozy place. Take a piece of paper and a pen and write down all the values that you think are important to you. It could be relationships, money, career, friendships, health, travelling, luxury, status, creativity, helping others, finding life purpose, family, independence, etc. Give yourself as much time as you need and write as much as you feel. Then select 10 main values out of this list. After doing so, select 5 values out of the 10 list. Then rank them from the most important to the least.Congratulations if your current life matches your main values – you are on the right track. However, most people find themselves shocked after this exercise. When I did this test years ago, I found out that my most important value was health, because if you don’t have health, nothing else is important. And yet, I was smoking at a time. Health was my most important value in my life, but my habits were not reflecting it. This realization made me think things through and decide that I will never smoke again. This is a lot more powerful than using your will power.
- Imagine the best version of you. How would that person live? What would that person feel like, act like, talk like? Is what you’re doing now going to lead you to becoming that person? Would the best version of you be smoking, drinking coffee or eating dead animals? Whether the best version of you becomes your reality, or just stays in your mind, is purely up to you. You start becoming this person once you make a decision.
- Be patient with yourself. Big changes don’t happen overnight. The more intense the habit, the more challenging it’s going to be to quit it. Don’t resist and don’t beat yourself up. Progress is more important than perfection. If you cheat once, it doesn’t mean that you failed and none of your hard work counts. Sit down, take a piece of paper and write down why you did this. It will help you understand how you operate better and will prevent from falling off in the future.
- One trick that worked for me: When I decided to quit smoking, I had a brand new packet of cigarettes in my drawer and I told to myself: “I can smoke whenever I want”. And when I wanted to, I would say “Maybe I will just try not to smoke today, but if I really want to do it again tomorrow, I will”. And so I continued saying it every day until I didn’t want to smoke. I did the same with coffee, chocolate, meat and cheese. Well, the fact is that when you restrict yourself and don’t allow yourself to smoke, drink coffee or eat chocolate, meat or dairy, you want it even more! We humans are weird creatures: If we can’t have something, we want it even more! This trick is also very powerful because most people can restrict themselves from certain habits once they are alone, but when they go out with their friends and are exposed to cigarettes, coffee, fried chicken or ice cream, they give in. But once you use this trick, there is no difference whether you are alone or with other people – You are the one who is controlling your habits, the environment’s not controlling you.Most importantly, love yourself and know that you deserve the best. We so often take care of other people but forget to give a proper love and attention to ourselves. Forgive yourself for any wrongs, embrace yourself and take care of both your body and spirit.
I am confident that these techniques will help you overcome your addictions and free yourself. I send you lots of love and my best wishes. I would love you hear from you if any of those tricks and techniques helped you.
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