Any technique or advice relating to changing bad habits is only as effective as its ability to reach and “reprogram” the deeply embedded thought processes which form the root of all negative habitual behaviors. For example trying to quit smoking or lose weight by using willpower alone will frequently be unsuccessful in the longer term.
This is because those who try to simply force themselves to change or remove certain habitual and established behavior patterns are failing to or are unaware of the need to take into account the role that the subconscious plays in maintaining and sustaining these behavior patterns. In order to fully and truly overcome negative self beliefs or bad habits permanently, you have to change the way that you feel and think – deep down – about whatever it is that you’re dealing with, whether it’s smoking, overeating, lack of self esteem or whatever.
This cannot be done through willpower alone. You can order yourself to resist something or stop doing something as often as you like, but where habitual behaviors and habits which have become established in the subconscious are concerned, you will sooner or later find yourself surrendering to the impulse without even thinking about it anyway.
It’s at this point that many people give up on trying to break bad habits, telling themselves that the impulses are too strong and that they’re stuck with the bad habit for life, or until it kills them. This most definitely does not have to be the case.
There are several techniques that can be used to harness the latent power of the subconscious to fundamentally change the way that you feel and think about something that’s become a bad habit, in such a way that you not only lose any desire or inclination to for example smoke cigarettes, but that you also become completely indifferent to them and are not left with constantly recurring psychological cravings.
One of the most accessible and easy to use of these techniques involves the use of affirmations. Affirmations – statements of intent or aspiration – are messages or instructions sent from the conscious mind to the subconscious, and which, through repetition, gradually change or reframe the way that your subconscious “thinks” about whatever aspect of yourself or your life that it is that you want to change or improve.
Your subconscious mind is capable of empowering you to do or be just about anything that you really want to. It has access to possibly limitless power and wisdom, yet at the same time is guided by the nature and quality of your habitual conscious thought. For example, someone who constantly worries about and imagines disease in the body has a high chance of actually contracting some disease. Why? Because the powerful subconscious reacts and responds to these habitual conscious thoughts and images by actually manifesting them as a reality in the life of the individual concerned.
Conversely, someone who is consistently and genuinely thinking and visualizing him or her self as being vigorous and healthy will actually be or will actually become vigorous and healthy, because in the same way the subconscious is compelled to use its power to respond to these habitual thoughts and images by manifesting them as a physical reality.
Committing yourself to a daily program of using positive affirmations – relevant to whatever your aim or desire may be – is an effective way of gradually “persuading” the subconscious to use its intuitive wisdom to guide you towards the fulfilment of your goal.
Using weight loss as an example, here are a couple of suggested affirmations which could be used on a daily basis:
“Every day in every way, I’m slimmer, healthier and more attractive”
“I’m slim, fit and my body is beautiful”
Always frame affirmations in the present tense, in such a way that you’re envisaging something that’s happening now, and not in the future. If you affirm something that is going to happen in the future, then the future is where it will remain, always just out of reach and never actually being realized.
Set aside two periods of time of about 10 minutes each through the course of the day and evening, when you can relax comfortably in privacy and quiet, breathe fairly deeply and regularly, close your eyes and visualize yourself in whatever way is appropriate to your desired aim, and then repeat your affirmation – if possible verbally or otherwise mentally – around 20-30 times.
If you keep this up twice daily for a couple of weeks, you’ll begin to notice your attitude towards your problem or habit changing noticeably for the better. If you continue with it for a few weeks beyond that, you will at some point realize that whatever problem or habit had had a hold on you is simply no longer relevant. Regarding for example weight loss, you’d be noticing that your appetite had noticeably diminished and that you’d have lost any desire for sweet and junk food, and you’d also know instinctively that this was a permanent change.
In the earlier stages there may be times when you experience doubts as your “negative self” tries to persuade you that nothing’s changing and that you might as well give up. Don’t be fooled, the power of your subconscious is real and is capable of granting you whatever genuine desire you have.