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How to Stop Repeating Harmful Behaviors

Habitual behaviors can make you repeatedly make the same mistakes in life. Conquering them can be valuable beyond measure.
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People repeat the same harmful behaviors throughout life without thinking much of it. Usually, this happens because they follow their emotions or beliefs rather than logic.

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Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Do you always find yourself in similar situations? Why does this keep happening? Is the world plotting against you?

Doubtful, chances are the culprit might be your subconscious.

After all, it’s actually running everything in your life by using your beliefs and emotions. Then, we embed these mistakes by repeatedly doing them. Over time, we get comfortable with these stressful situations despite how destructive they are.

Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash
Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been.”

  — T.D. Jakes

So, if you keep having the same problems, then you’re probably habitually doing something to cause them. 

When you repeat good or bad behaviors you hardwire your brain to continue doing them. Each time you do anything, it’s ingrained deeper in your mind.

Furthermore, you may not realize that you are causing these negative situations.

Thus, making it an enormous challenge to overcome.

If you keep hitting the same wall, try the following tips to stop habitual behaviors.

1. Identify your most damaging behaviors, bad choices, or mistakes

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”

—  Abraham Lincoln

First, you’ll need to realize what default behaviors or choices you’ve made that didn’t end well. For instance, maybe you always choose the wrong people to date and it’s a constant disappointment?

Or perhaps you keep putting off paying bills like your insurance or mortgage? Or maybe you’re ignoring important tasks at work?

Whatever holds you back, write it down and move on to the next step.

2. What were your beliefs or thoughts before had these behaviors?

What were your beliefs or thoughts before had these behaviors?
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Then, think about what situations or thoughts led up to you making bad choices. Maybe you were procrastinating, thinking negative thoughts, or you were emotional?

3. What are the consequences of continuing these behaviors?

What are the consequences of continuing these behaviors?
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Ask yourself what consequences you’ll have to face if you continue this pattern. For instance, you could get fired, divorced, or harm your health. Note the potential aftermath of repeatedly doing the same destructive things. Then realize how it isn’t worth it.

4. What can you gain from defeating these behaviors?

What can you gain from defeating these behaviors?
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Imagine what it’d be like if you overcame the obstacle. Maybe your business would flourish or your relationships would heal? Keep in mind the potential benefits of conquering these behaviors.

5. Think about the times you triumphed over these habitual behaviors

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Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

It’s more helpful if you think about the times you did well with this issue rather than when you failed. While realizing that you made a mistake is valuable, dwelling on it can have a negative effect.

So, write each time you succeeded and how you were feeling. What did you do beforehand? Relive these moments often.

How you think about your actions can contribute to them reoccurring time after time or not. What are the limiting beliefs you have about this? Are there critical steps you’re avoiding that would help you in the long run?

7. How can you ensure you don’t make the same mistakes?

Image by Free Photos from Pixabay
Image by Free Photos from Pixabay

Now, it’s time to plot and scheme to defeat these detrimental behaviors. What will you do the next time you’re triggered to make an awful choice?

For instance, if you have a big assignment your boss gave you and you think, “I have all month to get it done, I’m going to relax.” However, you know that you’ll procrastinate all month until it’s almost due.

So, force yourself to work on it for at least 15 to 30 minutes every day. That’s easy to accomplish and it’ll set you up to create a successful project with less stress.

8. Take action and practice doing different behaviors

Take action and practice doing different behaviors.
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Create a plan for times when you usually make the same bad choices. It’ll be useful to make a list of better options ahead of time.

Most important, you must do something different from usual. If you don’t switch things up, then it’ll always be the same.

You’ll enter the same dead-end relationships and jobs. Or you’ll complain to your friends about your weight, yet never eat healthy food or exercise.

If you want a better life, the only one who can give that to you is yourself. Refuse to deal with the same tormenting issues and make a change.

9. Accept that you might slip up at times

You might slipup with old behaviors.
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Don’t expect that you’ll never mess up and do the old habit again. Remember that it’s deeply entrenched in your brain, after all.

Everyone has habits they can’t seem to stop. No matter how much they try to change, it’s a never-ending pattern. They’ll continue to hit the same wall too until they learn what they needed from it. Only then can they move past it.

So, have some self-compassion, it’s not the end of the world. Afterward, get back on track, check your progress and make adjustments.

10. Set realistic goals

Build better behaviors.
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Work on one habit at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed or quit. If needed, you can take baby steps as you build new brain pathways to more beneficial default behaviors.

Over time, these will take over the old habit and you won’t have to try at all.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

In the end, detrimental behaviors can hold you back in life, but you can conquer them with practice.

Don’t identify yourself with your actions; you aren’t your mistakes. You make mistakes because you’re human. Although, you’re a step ahead because many people never learn how to overcome them.

Focus more on the times you were successful. It’ll be difficult at first, but soon you’ll be so glad you eliminated these damaging behaviors.

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4 Comments

  1. Sheryl, I really love this post! Right on target for me, as I’m preparing to accomplish some big goals in the next few months!

    Thank You for motivating all of us!!!

    Trent

  2. Your right the subconscious can be a real M.F.
    I is such a hard thing to change. My biggest problem is dwelling on the failures and not giving enough props to my successes. Thank you for this post it helps to remind yourself that you are not a mistake you make mistakes.

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