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4 Ways to Take Control Your Life and Break Bad Habits

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To take control of your life, recognize that habits are response patterns to situations. If you are a smoker, you reach for a cigarette when the coffee is served, but not during the soup. You don't smoke or even want to in church, in the theater, in a courtroom, or in other places where no one usually smokes. However, given the right circumstances you will light up.

In order to break a habit, then, you must recognize that you must deal with the source of satisfaction - that is, you must want to change your ways and give up the real or imagined benefits; you must be aware of what you are doing, and, you must take in account the situation that had become associated with the habit.

A number of methods for habit breaking have been proposed by therapists working from different points of views. Here I will review some of them and recommend the one that I believe is the most effective.

1. One method for habit breaking is through negative practice. This is deliberately repeating a habit over and over again until you are totally bored with it. This method can be used when you seem to be unaware of when or why you are doing something. This procedure calls attention to the situation involved, which makes them recognizable so that preventive action can be taken. 

2. Another method that can be used is the tapering off method. This is a long-term process and works only if you are seriously interested in breaking the habit. If the habit is related to a life-threatening disease such as cancer or heart disease your motivation to break the habit can be significantly strong enough so that nothing else may be needed.

3. Another method is to quit cold turkey.  You may experience significant stress with this approach or you may perhaps experience some joy out of being able to make such a complete break. This is not a method, but a decision that you make and are willing to stick with despite the potential discomfort that you will experience.

4. Finally, in my judgment the best way to break any habit is to follow the five main components of the habit reversal method:

a. Recognize that the habit is a strong or persistent urge that is not rooted in deeper psychological problems.
b. Keep precise record of urges and count the number of times that you actually succumb to them.
c. Develop an awareness of the chain of events that leads to or results in the unwanted behavior.
d. Learn relaxation method as a means of combating the urges.
e. And, substitute a response that incompatible with the unwanted behaviors.

If you really desire to quit any habit and take control of your life this five easy step process really works.