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Break Any Habit in 3 Simple Steps

(Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D., Psychology Today) 1. Design your alternative habit
The brain needs habits to function. To escape an old habit, give your brain a new habit to run on. Design an alternative that meets your real needs, and plan the details of weaving it into your life.
2. Commit to the new choice
It doesn’t feel good to give up what you like, even with a new choice all ready. The old habit feels good because your brain connected it to your happy chemicals long ago… It takes new actions to build a new pathway in your brain, and it’s hard to take new action with your old brain circuits…
3. Repeat for 45 days
Your new pathway will grow big enough to feel natural if you repeat a new choice for six weeks. Until then, the old way feels natural and alarm bells may ring without it. Your brain linked that old habit to survival, so it tells you that your survival is threatened when you take steps that actually promote survival. The neurochemical alarm dies down once the electricity in your brain has a new place to flow…
The connections between your neurons make you who you are. These connections turn on your happy chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphin) and your unhappy chemical (cortisol). Happy chemicals mask the alarm feeling that cortisol causes, but good feelings pass quickly because the brain chemicals get metabolized…
My book, Meet Your Happy Chemicals, explains the brain’s quest for happy chemicals, and shows how you can build a new happy-chemical pathway in 45 days.
Community: Improving impulse control can help break old habits and form new ones.
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Please do not give advice. We can best help each other by telling what works for us, not what we think someone else should do.