No matter who you are, there are a few things you cannot escape in life; you will have struggle, you will pay taxes and, sooner or later, you will have to face-down a bad habit.
Bad habits are negative behavior patterns that can erode self-esteem and adversely affect health, relationships, finances and happiness. We all know this and yet, at some point, we are likely to find ourselves with one anyway. Why?
Sometimes we form them to comfort ourselves, or out of laziness, or simply on accident because we weren’t paying attention. Regardless, the fact is that they are easier to make than they are to break. If were easy, no one would have them.
But it’s not impossible to change your ways. With a little understanding about why you formed the habit, and positive actions you can use to replace it, it’s possible to find the strength to stop the cycle and free yourself once and for all.
Begins with Awareness
Start with awareness. To overcome a habit, you will need to foster a stronger urge to stop it than the one you have to keep it.
Take an honest and thorough look at what you are doing and examine its resulting consequences. This will help fuel your strength to persevere when the resistance to change turns into a struggle.
Here is a list of questions to help you gain awareness of your habit:
- Why do I keep on with this habit? What does it do for me?
- What harm do I inflict with this habit? To what or whom?
- What uncomfortable feelings am I hiding from with this habit?
- If I continue with this habit, where will it lead me?
- What positive choices can I make instead?
- How might my life improve if I no longer have this habit?
- How might my life improve if I adopt a positive habit instead?
Once you’ve gained some self-awareness about your bad habit, it’s time to take the first step on your new path without it. Just begin… and keep it going. The more you live without the habit, the more steam you will have to keep yourself on track.
However, stopping a bad habit is rarely a cake walk. To succeed, you will have to battle the desires and patterns that have fostered the habit – and those can be fierce opponents.
So what can you do if you are struggling? You can start over, refocus yourself by going back over your awareness answers and most of all, don’t give up! Perseverance is at the foundation of all successful endeavors.
To help you, here are 6 ways you can fuel your resolves to persevere, formatted in an easy-to-remember fashion, I call … PEARLS.
PEARLS: 6 Ways to Fuel Perseverance
- Patience: It takes time to change a habit. You may falter or want to give up. When this happens, practice patience. Self-patience is you, allowing yourself as many chances to change as it takes.
- Education: Learn about the potential harm your habit is causing. Seek out information about it and saturate yourself with it. Read books, watch videos and talk to people who have overcome what you are facing. The more you know, the more personal power you will have to change your habit.
- Attention: Pay attention to the circumstances and emotions surrounding your habit. Become aware of your triggers, and try new ways to cope.
- Replace: Don’t let yourself mull over what you can’t have or do, instead be proactive and only allow yourself to think about what you can have or do. Find a positive habit to replace the negative habit, and train yourself to focus on that instead. The more you do the positive thing, the more you strengthen it as a new, healthy habit.
- Love: The root of all bad habits is a lack of self-love. Find a way to honor and respect yourself every day in a healthy way. This step is crucial to your success. Use positive self-talk, affirmations, levity and humor to love and honor yourself.
- Sight: Develop and foster a new vision of yourself, living life with all the freedom and potential you will gain when you no longer have to live with the bad habit. Keep yourself focused on the vision, and use it to sustain you as you deliver yourself to success.
Self-Care Breath Kriya
Meditation and exercise are always great options with which to replace a bad habit. Here is an excellent, 5-minute Kundalini yoga breathing meditation (as taught by
Yogi Bhajan) you can use as your replacement habit.
This one will help you release the old, negative patterns you are holding, while strengthening your capacity to attract new, positive patterns for your life. It makes an excellent, 40-day practice. Give it a try!
Self-care breath increases inner energy and strength, boosts the immune system, and cleanses the body.
- Sit comfortably in a meditation posture.
- Open the mouth and form a circle that is tight and precise—a boar’s mouth.
- Place the hands crossed over the Heart Center, right over left.
- Close your eyes and sense the area under your palms.
- Breathe a steady, powerful breath through the mouth. Let your mind focus on the mouth ring and shape the breath into a ring. Continue 5 minutes.
- To end: Inhale and hold the breath. Relax the mouth. Mentally repeat: “I am beautiful, I am innocent, I am innocent, I am beautiful.” Exhale through the nose. Do this a total of five times. Then relax.
© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan
From: Humanology: The Science of Living, Copyright 2000
Meditation is shared with permission from KRI. You can find this meditation and more at: