How to break old habits?

Many people said that they can’t break their old habits. I am definitely one of them. For past year, I started to become aware of my old habits that were not serving me anymore. For example, my two-toned friendship circle and pleasing others with my own cost. Some habits were easy to break through awareness and shifting mindset/perspective in relation to it. However, other habits returns to you time after time until you really break through such chain.

All bad habits start slowly and gradually and before you know you have the habit, the habit has you.

Zig Ziglar

Chain of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.

Warren Buffett

I am currently working on two habits that are not serving me anymore. One was a homework suggested by a friend which is “not to use words such as positive/negative, good/bad or better/worse.” I actually wasn’t able to have a effective communication without using these words. However, I am still trying. I think this is something I want to break because I can see the benefit at the end.

Breaking old habits and forming new ones always takes time, but it is worth it in the end.

Joyce Meyer

Second one is also a challenging one. This one is related to respecting of my time. It is fascinating to observe and reflect my own behaviour. There are times I can tolerate people ask me to wait. However, there are time when I feel they’ve invaded my boundary.

Let me give you an example of such situation.
On Monday night, I have attended a meeting which was scheduled between 1930 to 2100. This was a meeting for a steering committee for an event. This steering committee can be further breakdown to smaller committees based on their tasks. Many people drove nearly an hour to get this meeting on a weeknight after work, study, or family duties. The meeting itself was great until it become a task-based discussion.
At 2045, we have moved to this task-based discussion, however, irrelevant discussion continued for next 30 mins. It was irrelevant to me because it was irrelevant to my committee. They were arguing over small things whilst major tasks were not discussed at all.
At 2115, I was getting angry. I don’t know why. Well, to be honest, I knew these meetings never finished on time. This time, I was getting very angry of listening to irrelevant thing so I asked facilitator to close the meeting because it is getting late into my sleeping time. I was angry because facilitator did not consider those individuals who don’t need to listen to all these and have family to return to, and did respect committee member’s time.
Afterwards, three of us had to stay behind to discuss several things ready for following week’s meeting. I felt very sorry for those who agreed to stay.

On the way home, I asked myself “why am I angry?” I was angry because I felt that my time was not respected. I felt that my time was taken for granted. I felt that the facilitator did not know how to facilitate the meeting. Probably some of these come from expectation; however, I was very angry about that I have felt disrespected for my time.

An outcome of this story was that I was too angry to sleep well and I got seriously sick. However, I was not able to change any plan for the following day. Then, I realised, I was angry about myself, once again, allowed someone to step over my boundary of time. Once again, I lowered my boundary and taught them it is okay not to respect my time.

Interestingly, because I was thinking about this for awhile, similar thing happened again in a different context. This time, it was my optometrist late for my appointment by 30 minutes and he asked me to wait while he served another client during my consultation time.

Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy.

But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.

Charles Duhigg

It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.

Benjamin Franklin

Do you have any habits that are not serving you anymore?
How do you become aware of them?
How do you break your old habits?

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