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Tips for Breaking Self-Limiting Habits

April 4, 2014 0 comments Peak Performance

Tips for Breaking Self-Limiting Habits

By Thomas Hadley

All of us desire to be effective in the important areas of our lives. However, most of our actions are determined by our subconscious mind. It is the mechanism that provides the basis for all of our habits. Some are good and are leading us to our goals. Some are limiting us. So if we are going to excel in the important areas, we must address our habits. How do we break the habits that are holding us back? Here are 4 tips:

  • Understand that the habit is providing stability. All of our habits – even the bad ones – serve a purpose for us. If they didn’t, we would not engage in them. If we have the bad habit of eating emotionally, it is serving a purpose in the moment we are feeling stressed. It provides a level of comfort. If we have the bad habit of not being able to say “No,” it may be serving the purpose of fulfilling our need to feel approval from others. If we didn’t engage in these habits, it would be more difficult for us to function because we would feel that our needs are not being met. So in this way, it is providing stability for us.


  • Understand that the habit is a symptom. Once we understand that the habit provides stability, we can view it as a symptom of a deeper issue and not as the issue ITSELF. So shift the focus from changing the habits and remove the pressure from yourself.


  • Increase your awareness. In order to find out what the real issue is, we only need to increase our awareness. We do this by observing our behavior, free of any judgement. Rather than criticizing and judging ourselves for the behavior we want to change, we simply note (in writing) what we are doing, when we are doing it, why we are doing it, etc. When we do this, we are able to gain clarity on what purpose the behaviors we wish to change are serving.


  • Allow the habit to atrophy. Once we know what purpose these behaviors are serving, we are then able to find healthy behaviors that fulfill that purpose. Once we have replaced the bad habit with healthy behaviors, it will atrophy. It is important to note that simply replacing a bad habit for a good one will have limited impact. We must have a deep understanding of what emotional need the bad habit is meeting in order for the habit to be changed permanently.


Now that you understand that the habit is not about the behavior, but about need fulfillment, you can now take a more effective approach in addressing it. The benefit of addressing your habits in this way is that the insight and understanding you will gain about yourself will have impact not only with regard to changing the habit, but will bring you the possibility of transforming many areas of your life.


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Thomas Hadley

Thomas Hadley

Thomas Hadley is a peak performance consultant for executives, business owners and investors. He enjoys writing, teaching and presenting on increasing creative output, energy management and overcoming limiting beliefs in performance. He founded Higher Level Training Corp. in 2006 and resides in Irvine, CA with his wife and two children. Thomas Hadley Peak Performance Consultant
Thomas Hadley

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