Kicking Bad Habits
What comes to your mind when I use the expression “kick the habit”? What habits are
not serving you in your life?
A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost
involuntary. In other words, if we practice something long enough, often enough and on
a consistent basis then it becomes a habit; it takes over us, it controls us and we do it
without conscious thought or questioning.
We also need to understand that we engage in habits of doing and not doing. In other
words, if you do not exercise, then that is also a habit – not exercising.
Recently, the US government applied the largest tax hike ever on cigarettes and
combined with other state charges and taxes, suddenly, I have been inundated for
requests by people for help to kick the habit of smoking.
People often speak in terms of ‘breaking a habit’ but the actual process does not simply
involve pattern interruption, it involves replacing the habit with something else which still
meets the benefits originally offered by the first habit. For example, instead of inhaling
poisonous smoke, you now inhale fresh air, take a long walk or engage in other ways
that relax you, ease your stress or give you a short break from your daily routine.
Almost all of our behavior is driven by the “Pain and Pleasure Principle” – we move away
from pain and we move towards pleasure. Once the pain in any activity overrides its
pleasure, we are compelled to change our behavior or habits.
In other words, to change any habit, we must first associate massive pain with that
behavior and associate massive pleasure with our new consciously desired habit.
For example, every habit began because of an association with pleasure. Most people
began smoking as teenagers because of peer pressure: they wanted to be accepted,
liked and be part of the group (pleasure) and they feared rejection, mockery or
Almost all addictions offer some sort of benefit (even in spite of the obvious painful
consequences.) Many people become addicted to various behaviors as a way of
escaping some pain (facing themselves, their past, their present life or some other
reality) and as way of experiencing pleasure (numbing the pain, being accepted or
feeling happy in the moment.)
Our habits and addictions are not though limited to just chemicals. Too many of us
engage in various destructive habits – overeating, overworking, obsessing, ruminating,
criticizing, judging, blaming, hiding, staying stuck in our comfort zone, avoiding people,
lying, spreading gossip or bad news, holding resentments, living in the past, etc.
The key to changing those habits and replacing them with new and empowering habits is
to first identify the benefits of your present habit or behavior. A benefit can be any result
that is perceived as advantageous, positive or good. For example, one of my clients was
a “Cutter” – she would cut herself on the arm. We uncovered that her subconscious
motivation to cut was caused by her desire and need to feel in control of the pain that
was inflicted on her (in contrast with the other people in her life who were inflicting pain
on her) and; her desire to actually be able to feel the pain.
So if you are ready, take a look at your life and habits. Ask yourself, “How does this habit
serve or benefit me?”
For example, one of my clients came to me to help her “find love.” As we reviewed her
habits, we identified a pattern that she would always find something wrong with her date,
no matter who they were. So what was the benefit of finding something wrong with every
potential suitor? It kept her safe: She would reject the man before he could reject her.
Thus, she felt that she could avoid the hurt of rejection by criticizing the man, pushing
him away and thus remaining single. But after years of being alone, the scales were
starting to tip. My client wanted a family; she wanted someone that she could love and
someone that would also be there for her.
Thus, for us to help her to change her habit and replace it with a better habit, we had to:
1. Identify her fear
2. Establish where and when she took on the habit of criticizing
3. Help her to feel good about herself so that she could associate lots of pain with
staying the way she was (criticizing romantic partners) and;
4. Now associate pleasure with dating and love once more.
This approach and strategy can be applied to any habit. However, if you have a heavy
chemical addiction, then you will need a comprehensive program which also includes
detoxification, consistent counseling and ongoing support. If you would like support and
assistance to end the habit of cigarettes and replace it with something much more
beneficial, try my hypnosis CD. It works on a subconscious level to change what you
associate with smoking, shift you to focus on the extraordinary benefits of being a non-
smoke, while also helping you to relax deeply and soothe away stress.
Who Am I ?
I am a Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert. I provide Stop
smoking Hypnosis programs and many other Hypnosis programs.
I started my career in Australia on stage, radio, and Television. I worked as Executive
Producer & talk show host of News/Talk Radio 3AK, and Political TV reporter for Tens
News television. The Australian Journalists association awarded me the elite ranking of
Grade A triple plus Journalist and at age 23, i became the youngest talk show host in
Visit my site at http://www.patrickwanis.com to know more about the programs i offer.