How to break a bad habit

If you can break bad habits, you can be more successful, feel healthier and live longer.


Bad health is usually caused by smoking, drinking, drugs, poor eating habits or a lack of exercise.


Bad marriages are often caused by bad habits like cheating, laziness and disrespect.


Bad jobs are often caused by bad habits like procrastination, tardiness, mood swings and so on.


Bad habits ruin your chances of success. From drinking to lying, promiscuity to gambling, you can stop any behavior that is bad for you or that you are not proud of. You simply take control.


Taking control


You can control yourself. You can make yourself more energetic, more ethical and more successful. Better self-control means a healthier, happier life.


"Control may be subdivided into three separate parts. These parts are start, change and stop."


"A habit is simply something one cannot stop."


"When one finally loses the ability to stop something, that thing to some degree has become his master."


"Franticness, helplessness, incompetence, inefficiency and other undesirable factors in a job are all traceable to inabilities to start, change and stop things." -- L. Ron Hubbard from The Problems of Work


All of your bad habits are a problem with control.


For example, if you have a bad habit eating junk food you probably felt early on that you could start, change and stop the habit without any trouble. You could go for days without eating junk food. You were in control.


After you started to eat lots of junk food routinely, you probably felt you could easily change the habit. You could change how much junk food you ate, the kind of junk food and how often you ate junk food.


But then you could not longer change. You were eating junk food routinely. Junk food with most meals, junk food in front of the television every night and so on. You still felt you could stop eating junk food, but you were fixed in a routine.


Finally, you found you could not stop eating junk food. You had to arrange parts of your life around junk food. It became your master.


How to take better control


"Control consists entirely of starting, changing and stopping. There are no other factors in positive control. If one can start something, change it's position in space or existence in time and stop it, all at will, he can be said to control it, whatever it may be." -- L. Ron Hubbard


So how can you increase your self-control? One approach is to improve your ability to start, change or stop what you do.


Find things you can start about the bad habit. For example, maybe with smoking you can start smoking each day at a different time. You decide when to start or when not to start for the day. You take more control of the "start" aspect of control.


Find something you can change about the bad habit. If you want to quit smoking, make changes to the habit. Switch brands. Smoke two cigarettes at the same time. Smoke with your other hand. Simply work on changing the habit.


Find things you can stop about the habit. For example with smoking, stop smoking when you are driving. Stop smoking for an hour. Stop smoking half-way through a cigarette. Just get better at stopping.


As you gain the ability to start, change and stop the habit, you will notice you now have control of the habit.