How to break bad habits

From smoking to petty jealousy, we can all behave in ways we know are bad for us. Author Michael Singer shares his tips for letting go


How to break bad habits
  • Start noticing and observing urges or thoughts you want to let go of. Practise by putting aside 15 minutes a day to observe what you’re thinking and, rather than obsessing on these thoughts or feelings until they become you, let them just come and go without getting attached to them.
  • Breathe deeply into your belly. Shift your attention away from your thoughts and on to your body, breathing whenever you find yourself triggered by destructive thinking.
  • Let go of the rope. When you notice that you’re being triggered by a thought, relax and release it. Imagine that you’re water-skiing and lean away from the thoughts, and then just let go of the rope. Most people choose to be in a tug of war.
  • Know your protective mechanisms. We all have things from our past stored inside us that are painful and problematic, and we often develop our personality around trying to protect ourselves from feeling weak and vulnerable again. Start observing and recognising these protective mechanisms. Once you recognise how they’re running your life, decide to let them go in the moment. Relax, release, let go.
  • Make a commitment to choose a path, or a thought, that will take you in the direction that you want to go versus the one that is causing you pain. People say to me, ‘I can’t stop smoking. I’m not strong enough’. And I say, ‘If I give you a million dollars, will you?’ And they say, ‘Yes’. To be frank, most people just don’t want it badly enough.
  • The more you practise, the easier it gets. Make every moment count; choose to take the actions, habits and thoughts that take you in the direction you want to go. Make this a ‘life practice’. By becoming comfortable and expert at letting go, you create space for love and joy to come in.

Let go with The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection (Yellow Kite, £13.99) by Michael A. Singer

Photograph: Gallerystock

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