Equally as important as establishing new habits, is getting rid of the bad ones.
I’ve decided there are three core features of this journey. Habit building, habit destroying, and environment development. I’ll write about environment in another post.
Habit destroying is something I haven’t explored as much. You cannot just do habit destroying alone- because if you don’t replace those actions with positive habits, they’ll come back.
These bad habits are the things that are deliberately holding you back - mentally, physically and emotionally. It’s inaction to not fix them - and inaction is toxic. Inaction becomes regret. Regret is toxic.
The thing about the habit destroying process, is that it’s different for everyone. It’s funny, I’ve heard this before when referencing family dynamics, “Healthy families all look the same, while dysfunctional families all have different problems.”
Your problems are not the same as my problems, and your bad habits are not like everyone else’s. Even if you have the same problem, they are not at the same depth of issues.
So this process is more personal. It’s more specific to the person. One thing is true, as with habit building, it takes gradual steps over time.
Some things can happen cold turkey - and that’s the power of changing your environment.
To talk about environment briefly, imagine you are a smoker and you find out your wife is pregnant. Then, you find out that smoking will hurt the baby. That’s motivation enough (for some) to stop there. Their environment changed, thus forcing their habits to change.
But gradual decreases in habits is the way to banish them forever. Taking this process proves that you want to get rid of whatever it is. It’s a conscious decision.
The cool thing is, you can gradually decrease a bad habit while gradually replacing it with a healthy habit. Which is the most powerful thing you can do.
Imagine being a completely different person. Not only do you not struggle, you thrive on purpose.
That’s mind-blowing. Yet it’s not that hard. It takes time, patience, and determination.
I think the last piece to the puzzle, the piece that makes this all happen, is accountability. I’ll talk about that in another post.
Bad habits can look different to everyone. It could be social media addiction (or any addiction for that matter), it could be a mentality towards financial prosperity or faith, or it could be your inability to properly communicate with the people you love.
There are plenty of bad habits out there, some are worse than others. But if you’re open and honest about them, things can change.
I know that I want to be a completely different person. I want my default-self to be the person I want to be. Someone that upholds my values, displays them even when things are hard, and never waivers.
And I don’t want to be a completely different person in an envious way. There are certain quirks about me, that some might consider ‘bad’, that I actually like. Like my ability to focus on something and filter everything else out.
My wife hates it when I’m working and I should be helping around the house - but I am genuinely able to complete deep work that takes that level of focus. I guess the bad habit here would be to not do that when I’m at home and should be doing something else.
So I’ll be doing more research into how to destroy bad habits while replacing them with good habits. I know the whole action + reward thing, but I want to figure out what actually works. Not just what works in your head.
Habit development and destruction, environment shifting, and accountability. I think this will work.