Many of us have habits that we would like to stop. Over time we tend to develop habits that we consider to be bad and as we recognize these as hurtful habits, we often commit to stop them. Many find that stopping these negative or bad habits can be very difficult. Always remember though that a habit is really just a routine and a routine can always be replaced by another one.

In order to try and change this old routine, make the decision right now that you are going to change. Do not be halfhearted about it, truly commit yourself to this desire for change. You do this by first discovering your desire for change and then by consciously telling yourself that you will change. Some find it a good idea to even tell a friend that they intend to make this change, and in this way they create a situation where they must ‘stand up or shut’ up as it were.

In order to change a habit you must study this particular habit that you have. A habit like I said is a routine and a routine is a very robotic action. What this means is that any routine has a way of starting, a way of developing, and a way of ending. Routines also usually have triggers that excite them into action, once these triggers are set the routine takes over and action is performed in a robotic like state where you are not even aware of some of the things that you are doing. You must therefore begin by studying this routine so that you discover what triggers it and what develops into the powerful thing that it has become. You do this by paying attention to yourself and your feelings as you go about your day, discovering how you feel and what you are doing just before you start this negative habit or routine. Begin to map out this routine in a concise way, with this information you will find that breaking this habit will be much easier.

Once you have mapped out how this routine starts and how it develops, try to develop a strategy to stop it. The best way to break a routine is to stop it just as it’s about to begin. By studying this habit of yours and understanding what triggers it, you can be prepared with an alternative routine that should be able to neutralize the initial one. Your strategy then is to first identify the starting trigger of the bad routine and then to come up with an alternative routine that allows you to break this robotic action before it starts.

A bad routine or habit can be easily neutralized by finding something else to do instead. Try to come up with a routine that is just as enjoyable to you but that is far more constructive and positive. Now you might be saying to yourself that there’s nothing more positive or enjoyable to you personally then having a good smoke, but you must realize though that most of this good feeling comes from the comfort of engaging in a routine that you might have been doing for years. You can re-pattern yourself and you can make a new routine just as comfortable and as enjoyable as the old one. This enjoyment will be developed over time and if you are able to maintain this routine for the number of years that you have been smoking for example, you will find that this new routine will be just as enjoyable to you as the old one.

It will take a while for you to re-pattern your mind. You literally need to re-pattern your neural network and create a whole new set of neural connections. These connections need to be developed over time by performing the new and positive routine over and over and over again. In this way the new neural structure becomes stronger and thicker. It will therefore take conscious effort at first for you to go from one old routine to a new one. This means that you will need to stay focused on the trigger that sets up the old routine and replace that routine with the habit you want. This action will need to be maintained for a while and it is up to you to keep this momentum going.

If you have done your homework, have planned the cause of your negative routine, and have also created a strategy to overcome this routine with a new more positive one, I am certain that you will find success in overcoming any bad habit. It is possible though that you might fail in your efforts, if this is the case you must not give up on yourself and you must always keep trying until you get what you want. Bad habits can be very debilitating but you can change them if you understand that they are just routines that have never been questioned.