Releasing Old Habits

These are practices that I do whenever I am trying to release a pattern that no longer serves my highest good.  I am using smoking as an example but you can fill in any other habit instead of smoking.  Sometimes addictive patterns emerge from emotional charges.  You get stressed at work for example and you take a smoke.  Whenever emotional charges occur, they need to be cleared.  I have written about this in my page on Recommended Daily Spiritual Practices

1.  Buy a small notebook that can easily fit into a shirt pocket or purse.  Whenever you engage in the habit that you are trying to release, write down the date, time, the people you were with and the reason why you felt drawn to engaging in the pattern that you are trying to release.  

2.  What you are trying to do is to identify the triggers that are supporting the old habit.  Also a  lot of time we have unconscious agreements with others to support us in maintaining our old habits.  If  you conscientiously do this for a week, you will know exactly what the triggers are for your habit and who in your life is supporting you in doing this behavior.  

3.  After a week, take out the notebook and make a list of the triggers/reasons you indulged in the habit and the people who appear to be supporting the habit.  Post both of these lists up in your home and take time throughout the day to look at both lists. This will help you to understand what the underlying foundation of the pattern are. 

4.  For triggers, begin to recondition yourself.  Say for example that you want to give smoking and that you have a trigger that after you eat you usually smoke or whenever you have a break you smoke.  After you eat or have a break, instead of smoking - take 30 deep breaths instead.  

5.  For the people list, look at who is on it and begin to evaluate the relationship.  If some of them are people in your work group that the major thing you have in common with is smoking, tell them that you are trying to give up smoking and that you will no longer want to take smoking breaks together.  Explain to them that it is not personal that  you just have a hard time for the present watching others smoke when you cannot.

6.  If the people on the list are family members, you need to explain to them that you are trying to give up cigarettes and ask them to support you in this.

7.  For those periods when you are just dying to smoke, for the first week, make a promise to yourself that if you still feel this strongly fifteen minutes from now you will smoke.  If you do feel that way fifteen minutes later, go ahead and smoke.  During week two change the time period to a half hour.  During week three change the period to an hour.

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