Willpower: Fighting Habits
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Habits are things we do because we always do them.

Frequently these are things we want to change--but we find it difficult because we have programmed ourselves to do them.

To change a habit, you must do it one impulse at a time.  It is too difficult to "stop smoking cigarettes forever," or "stop eating junk food for all of June."  No, you must take it one day, one hour, one craving at a time, fighting each impulse on its own battlefield.  

Habit starts with desire; then the impulse to gratify the desire; then the will to follow the impulse; it ends when you act on your will and actually do it.  At each of these points you have the ability to say "No" and do something else instead.

The best thing you can do is silence the habit at the desire stage.  The desire will pop up, but you must immediately shut it down and move on.  Do not give it time or energy.  The moment you think "Cigarette," think "No!" and be done with it.  If you think, "Maybe I should get a cigarette..." you have moved to the stage of impulse, and you start walking down the road of habit.  

The farther you get down that road, the harder it is to turn back.  It is much easier to say "No" to a Big Mac at your house than it is in the McDonald's drive-thru.  The more time and energy you give the habit, the more you will reinforce it.  That goes for the present impulse as well as future impulses.

Just say "No"...and then consider what you should be doing instead.  Say "No!" to the Cigarette and run around the block instead.  Give energy to the habits you want and take it away from the ones you don't want.  If you do this you will create a new map for yourself, one that takes you to the place you want to be, instead of the place you always go.

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