By Leo Gura - May 18, 2014 | 33 Comments
A live exercise for dropping any bad habit for good
Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org, and in this video we’re going to talk about bad habits — specifically, how do you drop a bad habit?
Let’s talk about bad habits. What are they? Why do they happen? In this video, what I want to do is take you through a process that will help you begin to drop your bad habit for good. What do we have to say about this?
I think we have to start by taking a look at some of the examples of what bad habits are, what they’re doing in your life. I’ve really struggled with a couple of habits. I have to really go back into my past to unearth some of these, because I’ve already forgotten that I’ve dropped them, and they were such negative habits.
My biggest negative habits were overeating and watching television and playing video games. These three habits took root when I was growing up, and I was very overweight my whole life, I watched enormous quantities of television, wasted so much of my time doing that, and also spent a lot of hours playing video games. I’ve wasted a lot of my life doing that.
Those three things were really something I had to overcome in order to start to move towards the self-actualized kind of life that I am living right now, and that I’m shooting for even higher levels of, as I’m going forward.
Your negative habits might be the same, or they might be different. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what the bad habit is. It’s all the same thing. It’s all you relying on something to give you emotional support, emotional stimulation. A crutch, if you will.
This might be hardcore drugs. This might be pot. This might be food. This might be alcohol. This might be partying. This might be the internet or television or video games or porn or any number of other negative habits. Besides just those obvious ones, there’s also more subtle ones.
These are all very obvious types of habits, and a lot of them are socially unacceptable. Then you’ve got the more socially acceptable ones. For example, constant gossiping and criticizing, or being a cynic, or being a pessimist, or getting angry at people, getting mad at people, being passive aggressive, biting your nails.
These are smaller habits that are still very toxic to your life. You might want to get rid of those. If you do, this video is perfect for you. I’m going to go into what it actually takes to start to do this. The biggest challenge is that we all have bad habits, and a lot of us know we have them, but then when we try to drop them, what happens?
We try and then we fall off track, and we get back into the groove of that bad habit again. That’s literally what a bad habit is. It’s a groove in your brain that’s just been etched through repetition, through conditioning. Now that groove is running and you’re running along that track, and it’s hard to switch tracks now.
Conscious, Dedicated Work
To switch tracks, it’s going to require something of you, some sort of extra effort, and extra awareness, extra attention. Consciousness is required to do this, and also some commitment, some dedication and some willingness to go through the work.
In order to do that, you need to really get in touch with your motivation. Why are you doing this? The most important thing to consider when you’re trying to drop a bad habit is asking yourself “Why am I even trying to drop it?” This might seem simple and obvious in some cases, but not always is that the case.
Sometimes, you want to drop it just because of some sort of extrinsic motivating factor. Maybe someone is disapproving of you for doing it, or because you think it would be the right thing to do for your family or your friends, or somebody else, in order to fit in. That’s you sucking group think. That’s not a very good and motivating reason.
Instead, what you want is to tap into why this is destroying your life, why it’s holding you back from your greatest potential in life. That’s what’s really important. Once you get in touch with that, then you can really start to let it go. You’re going to have the emotional leverage to do it. I’m going to take you through an exercise at the end of this video that’s going to get you a lot of emotional leverage. Stick with me for that.
The next point is that you have to take full responsibility for your bad habit. A lot of people will have a bad habit, and they’ll blame it on others. They’ll play the victim. This is not going to work if you want to drop it. You only really have two choices in life — you can play the victim and stay stuck, or you can accept full responsibility, bite the bullet and be willing to do whatever it takes to fix the problem.
That’s how a winner is made. That’s how somebody goes out there and makes radical changes in their lifestyle and improves their life a lot. They’re taking lots of responsibility. You can’t blame others for your habit. If you’re getting angry all the time, that’s not other people, or your work situation. That’s you.
If you are drinking all the time, that’s not because you have a bad job or your family is depressing you, or your friends are causing you trouble. It’s not that. It’s you. You’ve got the drinking problem. If you are watching television all the time, and you’re playing video games, and you’re stuck at home, and you’re not really living a rich and full life, that’s also not anything to do the media, or society, or the fact that you’re tired after work. That’s you.
You’re responsible for that. Take full responsibility. You have to do that, otherwise there’s no chance for you to succeed here. The next point is that you have to believe that you can. That’s another place where people trip up. They’ll come and say “Well, I’ve got this bad habit. I’ve tried, but it’s not possible for me. Now I’m stuck with it.”
They’ll stay stuck and they’ll start complaining about all this bad stuff that’s coming from this bad habit. They’ll complain a lot, but they don’t actually believe they can change. If you don’t believe you can change, then how can you? You’re basically screwed right of the bat. You’re screwing yourself over from achieving a big life.
More Potential Than You Know
With that kind of mindset, you’re only going to be doing the things you think you can. This is very limited thinking. In fact, your capabilities and your potential in life is so much more than you realise, than you imagine.
Yet you sell yourself so short. You always tell yourself you can’t do this, you can’t do that, it’s too hard, it’s a struggle. You know what? You have to let that stuff go. Either you’re going to be a complainer in life, or you’re going to be a winner. A winner is someone who goes at a challenge again and again, until it breaks.
Even if you tried to quit smoking ten times, that doesn’t mean it won’t work out on the eleventh time. You’re going to try again. If you tried dropping television and replacing it with something healthy like reading, and that hasn’t been working for you, and you’ve tried that five times, go and try it a sixth time.
This is the kind of mindset you need to make this happen. With a lot of these habits, it probably won’t be dropped on the first attempt. It might take you two, three, five, ten attempts to do it. You know what? It’s still worth it, because this habit is robbing you of so much in your life, and I’m going to show you that in a minute.
The next point is the law of attraction. If you’re familiar with the law of attraction, what it means is that you simply need to focus on the things you want in life, rather than the things you don’t want. You tend to attract whatever you think and focus on. If you’re focusing on good stuff, you’ll be attracting that. If you’re focusing on the negative stuff, the stuff you don’t like about your life, you’ll be attracting more of that as well.
Let’s apply that law to breaking a bad habit. What would that mean? That means that instead of just breaking a bad habit, and then sitting around and doing nothing, or replacing it with some other bad habit, what you want to do is shift your attention on something good and positive that you’re doing with your life.
Either instilling an opposite good habit, or just having something else that you’re going to be doing with that spare time. That’s a lot of time where people go wrong, when they’re trying to fix a bad habit. They’ll do everything right, but then they have all this free time, and their attention is left to sit and wonder, and to be idle.
Have A Mission
You know the old saying that idle hands do the devils work. That is literally the case here. When you don’t have an important mission in your life, when you have no big, empowering, positive goals, then your life is going to be filled with bad habits. That’s probably why you got into this mess in the first place. You didn’t really have anything good or positive that you were doing in your life.
For example, instead of overeating all the time, and going to restaurants, spending a lot of time and money on restaurants and eating out, eating four meals a day — if you want to drop the eating addiction you have, maybe you commit yourself to something else.
Maybe, instead of eating out all the time, you’re going to spend more time with your kids, or you’re going to be spending more time on that side project that you were doing for your business that you wanted to launch.Or you’re going to spend more time on your relationship.
Or you’re going to go and pick up a new hobby. Maybe you’re going to go mountain climbing, hiking, doing something active, some sort of sport. When you have some sort of active activity you’re doing, it’s going to take your attention away from the fact that you’re not filling yourself with food.
This applies to every other negative habit you’ve got, especially stuff like television and video games. The reason you’re playing video games so much, and the reason you’re so immersed in television, you’re wasting hours on television, is because you have nothing else to do. You have nothing better to do.
I’ve got a business I want to build. I’ve got big ambitions. For me, to sit and spend even an hour watching television, my brain will tell me “No way”. There’s no way I’m doing that. I need to be reading. I need to be contacting people. I need to be shooting videos. I need to be working on marketing.
I have so many things I want to be doing, plus I have relationships I want to be in. I’m always strapped for time, because I set big, ambitious goals for myself. You need to have some of those as well. Whatever you habit is, decide right now what you’re going to replace it with, or what you’re going to do with the time that’s going to be free.
Commit One Hundred Percent
The next point is commitment. You really need to commit a hundred percent to a habit. You’ve probably realised this before, because you’ve tried to drop bad habits in your life, and it hasn’t worked. That’s because there’s this hump that you have to get over, this expenditure of massive energy to get over.
It takes about thirty days to put in all that energy, and then you can start to coast with your habit, because the new habits and the new routines get conditioned in your mind. Right now, you’re going to have to put in energy. That’s going to take commitment from you. The best way to commit is one hundred percent.
A lot of times, what people will do is make a ninety percent commitment, or a ninety five percent commitment, or even a ninety nine percent commitment. They’ll say “OK, I’m really going to try.” They tell themselves “I’m really going to try going to the gym. I’m really going to stop eating so much bad food. I’m really going to try to stop smoking.”
That’s a really disempowering way to go about building and breaking habits. That one percent is enough for your brain to start coming up with excuses. It creates this slippery slope where one excuse comes, and you say “OK, maybe today I shouldn’t go to the gym, because it’s a holiday.” And so you don’t go to the gym.
Then the next day, it continues. That slippery slope continues and your brain says “Well, if I didn’t go one day, what’s wrong with missing two days?” So you miss two days. Then you miss three days, and all of a sudden, you stop going to the gym completely.
The same thing any other habit. You have to be pretty disciplined. You have to be committed. You have to tell yourself that you’re going to do this no matter what. That is how I broke my food addiction. I had to use a lot of harsh discipline with myself, which is not always the best approach, but sometimes it is a good approach.
When you really have a hard addiction — like with food or a drug, or something like that, especially chemical — you sometimes really have to tell yourself that “No! God damn it, no. This is it. This is the end of it.” That’s what I want to help you do right now. I want to help you tap into this commitment of why you want to be dropping this habit.
The way we do that is by doing a little visualisation exercise. I want you to follow along with me. As I’m talking to you, you’re going to sit back and close your eyes. I’m going to take you through this exercise. It’s going to get you in touch with the motivation you need to get the leverage to really start to take action on this bad habit that has been plaguing you.
Let’s do that right now. Go ahead and sit back. Close your eyes and relax. Keep your back up straight. As you’re doing that, and your eyes are closed, listen along and follow along, and use your imagination.
Your eyes are closed now. Go ahead and take a nice, deep breath in. Then exhale. As you’re exhaling, release all the tension from your body. Get in touch with your body, really feel your body. Notice it, notice every part. Now take another deep breath in, and exhale. Relax your body even more as you’re exhaling.
Feel the rest of your body. Feel all the other parts of your body that you haven’t felt yet. Now let’s take one more deep breath, and as you breathe in and exhale, on the exhale you’re going to release every muscle in your body. You’re going to completely relax it and let it go loose. Ready?
Really get in touch with your body. Get in touch with the soles of your feet. Feel the soles of your feet. Feel the tips of your toes. Feel your legs. Feel your butt on the cushion or the surface you’re sitting on. Feel your back muscles. Feel your shoulder muscles. Feel your hands, and feel all the way into your fingertips. Now feel the muscles in your neck and relax those.
Move that awareness of the muscles in your neck up into the muscles in your face. As you’re feeling all your facial muscles, relax all of those too. Now you should be really relaxed and really in touch with your whole body. Notice how you’re breathing, just at a nice, even, steady pace. Keep your attention on that. Now we’re going to do a little visualisation exercise.
Keep your eyes closed and follow along. What I want you to do is imagine that bad habit that’s really plaguing you, that you would like to drop. Really picture it. Picture how it plays itself out throughout the day. Picture how it plays itself out throughout the week. I want you to imagine that this habit isn’t going anywhere, that this habit is going to stay, and it’s stuck with you forever, for the rest of your life.
I want you to imagine what the next month will look like, of this bad habit continuing to act itself out. Imagine all the pain that’s involved with that. Imagine the disappointment you see in others. Imagine how disappointed you are in yourself — the guilt, whatever this is costing you. Now let’s project that a year into the future. Imagine a year goes by, and this negative habit is stuck with you.
It’s not changing. You’re not changing it. It’s been acting for a whole year, every single day, three hundred and sixty five days. Imagine what the cost of that is, tallied up for three hundred and sixty five days. All the struggle, all the pain. Now let’s project that five years into the future. Imagine five years goes by, and you change nothing about this habit.
This bad habit is with you, and in fact, it’s getting even stronger, because a negative habit tends to get worse if you don’t work on it. Now imagine five years’ worth of all the negative accumulation of the effects and the repercussions of this negative habit. How does it affect your work? How does it affect your family? How does it affect your own psychology? How does it make you feel about yourself, to be so weak?
Now let’s project this ten years into the future. Imagine ten years of this negative habit working on you, working on your life. What does your life look like, ten years from now, from the ravages of this bad habit? What is going to happen if you keep doing what you’ve been doing? Really picture it. That’s the real cost.
Now clear that image out of your mind, maybe think of something else, totally irrelevant. You might think of sucking on a crisp cold lemon wedge, feeling the soreness on your tongue. That’ll be a little bit of a palette cleanser for you. Keep your eyes closed, and we’re going to move on the second part of this visualisation.
What I want you to do is clear your mind and think about the new habit that you’re putting into place, to replace this bad habit. What’s the good habit? What are you going to be doing with all that time? I want you to imagine that new habit operating on you, every single day for the next week. What would it look like, just for the next week, for you to be doing that new habit, and no longer doing the old one? How would it feel? How would you feel about yourself? Would you have more energy? Would you feel more successful? Would you be more caring? Would you be more conscious?
Let’s take that and project it out to a whole month, thirty days. For thirty days you’re doing this good habit. How does it make you feel to do thirty days of it? Thirty straight days of this accumulating positive effect of the good dhabi. How does it make you feel about yourself? What does it do for your life? How does it free up your life from all those negative emotions? What kind of opportunities does it open for you?
Let’s take that and project it a year into the future. Imagine three hundred and sixty five days have passed, and you have been on this good habit for three hundred and sixty five days. Imagine how much you accomplished during that time, the kind of gains you make in that domain where you’re practising this new activity.
What kind of gains do you make? What kind of successes does this lead to? What kind of rewards does it create, both physical and emotional? How proud do you feel of yourself for doing it for that long?
Let’s project it out five years into the future. Imagine you were doing this for five years, this positive habit. How much benefit have you received from it? Can you see all the little gradual accumulations and how big those have grown, how much they’ve expanded and completely transformed your life, how proud you feel of yourself for having done this?
Let’s project this ten years into the future. Imagine ten years from now, you’ve been on this positive habit, for every single day. Picture all the accumulated positive effects. Feel how you would feel. Feel how proud you would feel if you did this for ten years straight. Think of how this would affect every area of your life, from your work, to your relationships, to your family.
Think about how inspirational you would be to everyone around you, if you actually were able to do this. You could share the success of your story with them, and inspire them to also do the same in their lives, to improve their lives in the ways you improved yours.
Go ahead and wrap that up at your own pace. Finish that visualisation. Bask in it a little bit. At your own pace, on the count of three, you are going to come out and come back to me nice and refreshed, and feeling good. Here’s the count — one, two, three. Welcome back. How do you feel? I hope that felt good.
This exercise is called Future Projection, both negative and positive. That’s what we did here. We helped you get some leverage over your bad habit. You saw the costs, the real costs of staying on this negative track. You also saw the real benefits of putting yourself on a new, more positive track.
Time To Act
Right now, because you are in this state you are receptive and you are engaged. You’re ready. This is the time to commit. I want a hundred percent commitment from you that you are going to drop this bad habit. We know how toxic it is to your life. We also know how much it’s costing you in terms of all the potential you have, all the dreams that are going unfulfilled because of it. It’s weighing you down so much.
Commit right now, one hundred percent — not ninety nine — one hundred percent that you’re going to do no matter what to make this work. No matter how many times you have to try, you’re going to do it, and you’re going to give it your best.
This is Leo, I’m signing off. This is what I had to say about bad habits. Go ahead and post me your comments down below. Go ahead and like this. Click the like button right now if you liked it. Share this with a friend, maybe throw it on Facebook.
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One of the mindsets and the techniques you need to do that, that’s what I’m trying to share with you. I do that on a weekly basis, so that you’re always up to date and you’re slowly chipping away at it, and you’re constantly growing in your life. If you really want to be growing, if you want to really create profound changes and transformations in your life, then this is the way to do it.
It’s to slowly start to chip away at it and use these techniques. What I found is that these mindsets are some of the most powerful mindsets I’ve researched in the last five years, and you definitely want to know about them and keep them fresh in your mind, and keep yourself updated on that stuff. Go ahead and check that out, it is free.