Break an old habit easily with NLP

November 2, 2009


Habit Breaking

Are you ready to break an old habit?

Contemplating change?

Want a little extra boost?

Habits are a learned pattern of behavior that we have adopted and developed as our own. They stem right back to the very first time we took part in the behavior, because in some way it made us feel good (or less bad, as in escapism). People are motivated by two things, to either move away from pain or towards pleasure. It is very common for people to move away from discomfort and unhappiness by means of over-eating, smoking, drinking excessively, and so forth. And while this may appear to work for a short while, one is really not addressing the true underlying issue, and so the effectiveness of the chosen coping method is no longer effective, and one finds themselves still in the same unhappy place, with the unconscious mind still wanting to believe that the ‘habit’ will make them feel better, and it comes up short. Because the unconscious mind holds the belief that this pattern (habit) can make them feel good, it can be very challenging for one to overcome, even when the desire is strong.

How does one then, break a habit?

The initial step is to address one’s readiness.

Ask oneself where the habit was originated? Was it learned from a friend or family member? How will it serve in the future? Are you prepared to change? If not, what is stopping you?

The second step is to find the positive intent behind the behavior. In NLP therapy, practitioners presuppose that there is a positive intent behind all behaviors, no matter how destructive the behaviour may appear. Once the positive intent is found, then another healthier way to satisfy the intent can be created, and this allows the old habit to dissolve. The technique called chunking up is immensely effective for identifying the underlying positive intent.

Thirdly, it is important to notice who and what one thinks of themselves. Does one identify them-self as a ‘big person’, or ‘overweight’ for example, and take that persona on as who they are? What would it be like if they imagined themselves as a healthy person, and walk about in their new persona’s shoes? Why not aim to focus your energy in this new way? How would people respond to the new new healthy you? How would you feel as a healthy person? (If not for weight and health issues, try it for smoking, alcohol, etc., whatever your habit may be.)

If you find difficulty in this area, or you are able to think the thought, but not fully feel it, your NLP coach can help, with several quick techniques for lasting belief change. Through the belief change process you set yourself up to easily achieve the results you want, where before you have struggled. It works like a mental light switch…what you believed of yourself before turns off, and the new belief of you as ‘who you want to be’ turns on, and the old pattern is erased, and the new healthy pattern continues. Thus you attain your goal pretty much immediately, as your behaviors will follow suit.

The forth stage is to focus on a positive outcome. While general discomfort of a habit initially motivates one to move away from it, often the need to get away from pain is not strong enough. Reason being, that the focus remains on the negative aspect. Thus to move forward, the mind must focus on the positive outcome, so that the unconscious mind and conscious mind know where to direct it’s attention, and what to move towards. For example if you are thinking ‘don’t eat, don’t eat’, your mind is actually thinking about the eating behavior. So switching it up to a positive frame; ‘be healthy’ has the mind thinking about healthy behavior.

Lastly, have support. Believe in yourself above all, and surround yourself with like minded individuals who will support your new choices. This may mean stepping away from certain people or situations, and it’s important to weight out how that feels and whether the change is worth it.

Ultimately you have all the power and resources inside yourself right now to succeed.

How good will it feel to quit smoking?

How would your children respond?

What if excess weight was no longer a problem?

How would it feel to walk down the street in your new healthy, fit body?

How much more like yourself will you feel?


What do you really want?

Alyssa Huntley of 11:11 Life Styling

Life Coach, NLP therapy, fitness, nutrition and personal training



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