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Breaking a Bad Habit

If I still smoked, I’d use a technique I just became aware of. Here’s the gist of it:

Do you have a habit that you’d like to break?

I recently had dinner with one of the most talented doctors I’ve ever known. He has incredible success getting people to give up old, destructive habits – regardless of how many times they’ve tried and failed.

He has an impressive track record with smokers. The general success rate – no matter which smoking program you’re talking about – is between 20% and 30%. But he’s able to get over 50% of smokers to quit within 4 weeks.

So how does he better the odds?

His technique is simple. You put your conscious mind between your thoughts and your habit. Here’s how it works: When the desire for a cigarette strikes, you put 30 seconds between that desire and the act of lighting up.

During those 30 seconds, you stop and think about why you’re smoking and why you want to stop. Then you smoke your cigarette.

This works for several reasons. First, it breaks the chain of acting without thinking. Second, it allows you to develop and reinforce the feeling of why you want to quit. Over time, the desire to break the habit becomes the dominant motivating force and the ritual is broken.

My friend tells me that within 4 weeks, over half his patients give up their habits. You can use this technique on your own and get the same results.

Al Sears, MD

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  1. Good thing I’m not smoking. Though I’m not smoking, I really find it hard to break a habit that you’ve been accustomed to. I also do have a bad habit and that is to bite my finger nails especially when I’m doing nothing. It’s kinda gross to be seen by others biting my own finger nails- but I can’t help it. So to prevent my bad habit, I put nail polish on it. (It’s always in my bag) Less tempting. Less bacteria. Less gross!
    Just like in smoking, if you really wanted to have a healthy life- you’ll sacrifice everything just to achieve it. And it’s a good thing that there are doctors that can advice us what to do or what is best for us.


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