Wisdom//

7-Step Process to Breaking Lingering Unwanted Habits

Have a sticky habit that you just can't kick? Here's why this sixty-six day, seven-step process is sure to break that habit holding you down while forming new habits that will propel you forward.

Zamurovic Photography/Shutterstock
Zamurovic Photography/Shutterstock

By Maria Baltazzi, PhD

If you want to be the best version of yourself, read this article. Though I warn you, it will take effort, a lot of effort on your part.

Newsflash! You are worth every bit of energy that you put into yourself.

We all have either heard of or done a 21-day challenge. However, there is a body of research from University College London (2009) that says you should actually aim for sixty-six days to create a new habit. Wow, I know. It sounds like a lot of days.

Truthfully, it depends in part on the difficulty of the habit you are going after and your consistency to practice or perform it. The good news is that it could take you as few as eighteen days. However, realistically, it will take a couple of months, and maybe as much as eight and a half for a behavior to become automatic. I extrapolate this to also mean if it takes you this long to create new habits, it is likely similar for getting rid of ones that do not serve you—notably, the sticky ones. While the number of days may seem a bit daunting, it is well worth the effort for the freedom you will gain in finally getting rid a bad habit, and creating a good one instead.

The following seven steps will help you in your journey to creating a better, brighter you.

RELATED CONTENT: 6 Daily Habits from History’s Famous Leaders to Increase Your Productivity

1. Identify what is not working for you

Naming a habit that ill-serves you, helps to manage it by bringing awareness to it. You do this without judgment or shame. You are just pointing to ‘what is’ for you.

2. Realize the limiting belief(s) around what is not working.

When you can isolate thoughts that constrict your dreams, your abilities, the way you view yourself, you are better able to do something constructive about them.

Awareness Tip: You are not your limiting beliefs.

3. Think about who you would be if you did not have your limiting beliefs

This is where you start to see the freedom that is possible when you no longer buy into the erroneous ideas about yourself that drive the habits you find hard to break.

4. For sixty-six days, spend twenty to thirty minutes visualizing the person you would be without your limiting beliefs.

How do you act? Feel? When you are no longer shackled by untrue thoughts about yourself?

5. Throughout the day, make an effort to be aware of when your limiting beliefs seep into your thoughts.

When it happens, without judgment, shame, or a story, let go of the false idea versus attaching to it.

6. Keep a journal of how, and what, you are thinking and feeling each day.

This is cathartic.

7. On the sixty-sixth day, re-read your daily entries to see how much more aware you have become about your thoughts.

Notice the ways your limiting beliefs have changed. What impact do they now have on you? Hopefully, none at all.

Suggestion: start today!

Originally published on LightWorkers.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

7 Steps to Build Habits of Steel and Beat Procrastination

by Craig Ballantyne
Community//

Change habits: The definitive guide

by Simon Andrew
Work Smarter//

How to Break the Habit of Uncontrolled Thinking

by Shane Parrish

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.