Eight Steps to Breaking Bad Habits


When Know is Yes

An illness occurs when there is a misalignment within us, when something is out of place or out of order. A cure is the process of realigning our natural selves so that everything is exactly as it should be. Therefore, Knowing the illness is half the cure

Habits: We all have them. Some are good (“I always brush my teeth before going to bed no matter how tired I am.”). Some are unhealthy (“I bite my toe nails.”). Some are downright annoying (“I like can’t like stop saying ‘like’ between like every word.”).

Have you ever tried to break a habit, only to do just the habit you were trying to break? We’ve all been there. Habits can seem unsurmountable. But, you should know that your habits are not who you are. Your seemingly involuntary actions are more voluntary than you think they are.

A habit develops when one’s brain becomes used to firing in a certain way. The way your neurons are fired is the way they are wired. When your brain fires towards a certain thing, before long the neurons become wired that way. When that happens, it becomes automatic for your brain to process in this way and thus the habit is born.

Negative habits rewire our natural selves in a misaligned and unhealthy way. Therefore, the cure would be to unravel this habit by dislodging the negative wires and realigning your being in healthy and positive ways.

The following eight steps, based on ancient knowledge of harnessing the true power of your mind, can help you to move beyond your bad habits. If you can pick up a habit, you can break it.


Thinking your habit is healthy is like thinking pain is pleasure. Know that there is a problem.


Was it boredom, loneliness, stress, thrill, or a specific event that caused you to establish a negative habit in the first place? Knowing why you developed the habit helps you to break it.


The illness is this bad habit. That’s it. You are not the illness. At your core is the cure to the illness. Know this and remember it.


There is no magic potion. If there were, then that magic potion would become your habit. Know that it is going to be a battle, a hard-fought battle. But…


Sing a victory march, even before you enter the battlefield. You have the confidence and certainty that you will win this war.


Habits are automatic pilot; they are comfortably numb; they are preprogrammed templates followed effortlessly. Habits therefore cannot stand when someone asks them questions or puts them under the microscope. Therefore do both: ask your habits questions and examine them.


Half the cure is not the whole cure. Thank heaven. If knowing an illness alone would rid you of your habits, then people would just spend their days dissecting illnesses. Just understanding the habit will not break the habit. The other half is to…


Every moment of every day is a revolution in the making. Know that your soul thrives on movement. Breaking all of your habits, not just the bad ones, is the cure to overcoming bad habits.

When you feel yourself acting out that bad habit, stop right at that moment and choose to do something different. Refuse to live habitually.

For instance: If you are biting your nails, take your hands out of your mouth and do something unusual with them. You could sit on your hands, or you could tap your fingers together. Just do something different!

As a non-threatening exercise for yourself, practice breaking neutral habits just for the sake of learning to bring more consciousness to your actions. If your habit is to shampoo your hair before you wash your body, reverse the order of your cleansing in your morning shower. If you always drive to work the same route, try driving an alternate route one day, even for just part of the drive. If you’re accustomed to pouring milk into your coffee, try pouring coffee into milk.

The human being’s purpose is not to follow old maps but to
write new ones

Your brain is like a map. The more you walk down certain paths, the more beaten those paths become. The human being’s purpose is not to follow old maps but to write new ones. The human being’s purpose is not to live in habit, walking where walking is the norm. No, the human being is meant to run wherever it is habitual to walk; and where it is habitual to run, the human is meant to fly. Just knowing this is already half of a new map. You are here.


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Esther Sarah Evans
9 years ago

For some strange reason your article triggered off a strange, but powerful memory of mine from some years ago. You may be old enough to remember that there were many children born without arms etc. as a result of thalidomide taken by their mothers during pregnancy. One day I was passing a bench at a university I attended in Europe, and there sat a thin, but incredibly agile young man, who was holding a cigarette between his big toe and the next one and smoking as if this were the most natural thing in the world. Anybody would have had to give him real credit for his mastery of a bad habit against all odds. When I think of our trying to rid ourselves of bad habits, I wonder into what category HASHEM would put a stunt like this, which – like it or not helped this poor soul deal with a huge, huge challenge. Some years later I read an article with photographs of a young mother changing her baby – with her feet.
Some of us have to bend over backwards to break habits, and other people have to bend over frontwards to acquire them. The bottom line is that if a person really wants to break a bad habit, conquer his yetzer hara, all he really has to do is accept that habit as being keneged Halakha. If a person willfully violates a Halakha, then hell betray his best friend too. Therefore, if someone accepts that smoking is really keneged Halakha, he has subdued his will to accept HASHEMS, and HASHEM will help him, grant him a miracle that he can FEEL, will let him wake up feeling as if he never smoked in his life and therefore without any withdrawal symptoms whatsoever – quite the contrary. Anyone who has ever chainsmoked knows what that means, what a Ness galui that is. I know, because HE did that for me. Wow! No tricks for which people pay good money work like that. So, yes, we can get out of this world of slavery to our idols alive and wake up a Mensch, thanks to HAKODESH BARUKH HU.

The Meaningful Life Center