(Note to Reader: This is the fourth blog in a series of 8 that I am sending to you about how to stop bad habits. It is taken from Week 4, The Urgent Necessity of Stopping Bad Habits in Happy School Advanced, the companion study to the book, Happy School. The other lessons can be found under the Happy School Advanced tab on this website.
Let’s re-list a few of the reasons your Lower Nature will throw at you to indulge at a particular time. They are so repetitive that they become comical:
You can handle it. A little doesn’t hurt you. You can be moderate. This time is special. It would be so nice. This little habit won’t hurt you in tiny portions. This indulgence would especially be nice because it’s vacation. Others get to so why should you miss out? You really need a boost.You can start on Monday. It’s sad that you have to resist since everyone else is indulging. Aren’t you taking this thing a little far? Why be so strict? You only go through life once. This anxiety is intolerable and you didn’t get what you needed as a child so there is no hope for you. No one appreciates all the hard work you do, so treat yourself.
Just remember the truth: you’ve tried all that, and it didn’t work. Your bad habit drains you, steals from your health, and keeps you from achieving your dreams.
This is when you have to be ready to thrust your Best Sane Higher Self proclamation into the face of your Lower Self: “That habit causes misery. In moments of my Best Sane Higher Self, I know that I have told myself it’s not best for me. Why would I do something that is not best for me? In my heart, I’d like to be free of the misery and the whole filthy mess.”
Again, the key to defeating the bad habit is to remember to talk back to the desire: “I tried that bad habit and it didn’t work for me. It brought me harm. It’s true that I will get a temporary boost as it will numb and dull my current disappointment, but in the morning, I’ll be so glad I abstained!”
Then get a healthy substitute, and Move into Another Room in Your Brain!
Over time, stopping bad habits will increase the quality of your life, and you will have the freedom to become the best person you can be. Then you’ll wake up in the morning with confidence and feel refreshed. Remember, your bad habit is not a friend, but a liar and a thief.
In one of my past groups, one girl made us all laugh as she wrote, “Dear Bad Habit, When I signed up to be friends with you, it was for pleasure and numbing the unpleasantness of life. You were a boost. But I have found out what a traitor you are, as you’ve brought me so much sorrow and regret. I’m breaking up with you.”
Break up with the thief and bad habit in your life.
It is a lie that stopping your bad habit will strip you of what makes life tolerable. Your bad habit is actually making your life worse, not better. You might legitimately need some self-soothing and pleasure, but give yourself something healthy, not harmful.
For sure, come up with some substitutes to distract you, but ultimately, the best way to overcome bad habits is to not want them because they are harmful. Convince your mind they are hugely destructive to your health, your finances, your dreams, your goals, and your vision. Once you convince your mind, your body will easily follow.
Remember, your Lower Self doesn’t care if you are destroyed, only that it has pleasure now. Let your Lower Self break plates and throw her tantrums. Yes, your Lower Self pleads and demands. Put her in a cage. She’s not in charge. Your Higher Self can walk out of that Room in Your Brain and get distracted with another thought. Don’t trade what you want now for what you want most.
Bad habits are like poison. It’s a joy to not be burdened with them, not a deprivation. You can’t prevent hurricanes and all car accidents, but you can certainly decide what you put in your body. It’s not a sacrifice. How could laying down a trouble-maker be a sacrifice?
Be ready for the whine of your Lower Self: “Just a little bit? I promise that’s all I’ll get.” Silence that nonsense with your Reasons list. Pick one of your alternate behaviors, such as hot tea, a nap, carrots with guacamole, a good book, a funny show, a chat with a friend, hobbies, or a warm bath and Move into Another Room in Your Brain.
The next blog is entitled, Let Your Pleasure Centers Heal. If you’d like to access all 8 blogs now, you can find them under the Happy School Advanced tab at JulieNGordon.com.
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