There’s a big mistake a lot of smart people are making that’s keeping them stuck. Tell me if you relate…
Trying to fix a sabotage pattern without knowing if it’s an addiction or just a bad habit.
See, if you have an addiction that you’re trying to fix as if it’s a bad habit, you will continue to struggle and feel frustrated.
And, if you’re like most, then instead of investigating the validity your approach, you’ll most likely conclude that something is wrong with YOU that you can’t seem to break the pattern.
This is what keeps so many smart people frustrated, ashamed and stuck. And this is why I wanted to take a quick moment to highlight the differences between a bad habit and an addiction and share what it takes to get free of both.
Because the truth is, if you’re struggling with any sabotage pattern, it’s a sign you’re actually on the brink of a breakthrough, and I want to help you as much as I can to blast beyond your current barrier. ❤️
So let’s dive in…
The most important thing to understand when trying to determine if your sabotage pattern is really an addiction or just a bad habit is to first learn what each is.
A Bad Habit is a negative behavior pattern. Common examples include: Procrastination, overspending, interrupting, being chronically late, complaining, being messy, picking your nose, you get the idea…
An Addiction is anything we do to distract or numb ourselves from an underlying discomfort or dis-ease that when we try to stop doing find we can’t. Common examples include: Food, alcohol, work, relationships/sex, busyness, cell phone overuse, bingeing on tv or Netflix, smoking, obsessing, controlling, trying to fix things.
Addictions can be considered bad habits (i.e. negative behavior patterns) but not all bad habits are addictions.
So how do you know if that thing you do is an addiction or a just a bad habit?
Earlier this week I made a whole video about it which you are welcome to watch on Facebook here. But I also just wanted to give you the distilled version below. 🙂
5 Ways To Tell If That Thing You Do Is A Bad Habit Or An Actual Addiction
After you read through all of these, hit reply and let me know what you suspect about your sabotage pattern…addiction or bad habit?
(If you suspect it’s an addiction, don’t fret. Having an addiction isn’t a death sentence. In fact, in many ways, getting honest that you have an addiction can actually be the very first step in having the life of your dreams. I should know because I’ve gotten free from at least 8 of them and am living the life of my dreams as we speak!)
So here are the 5 strategies.
1. Scare Tactics:
Bad habits will go away if you use a scare tactic, like threatening to punish yourself for each offense. (I had a friend who fined his clients when they reneged on their commitments and the fear tactic worked for them!)
With addiction, this approach wont work because your mind will blot out or minimize the bad consequences and rationalize why either you don’t care about the consequences or you don’t care what the consequences are because the pleasure/fun/relief/enjoyment you’ll get from engaging with the behavior is worth the pain and punishment.
2. Self Knowledge:
Bad habits will go away by understanding your triggers, analyzing your behavior after a “bad habit relapse” or trying to think things through, anticipating the consequences and deciding to not engage with the behavior.
Addictions will never go away from self-knowledge. Many addicts who have exhausted the psychological approach with things like therapy, self-help, personal development, books, and podcasts will attest to that. Here’s why, because the mind is where the delusions and rationalizations are coming from! So we can’t use that same mindset to think our way out of the problem. The mind is part of the problem! It is unreliable when it comes to dealing with addictions.
This is why so many smart people say, “I KNOW what to do but I don’t do it!” They are trying to rely on self-knowledge but self-knowledge will fail them. This is actually why in the first phase of getting free from any addiction, the first thing I guide people to do is to actually set aside your self-knowledge for an open mind and a new experience.
3. Environment Change:
Bad habits will go away if you change your environment. Hang out with a new friend group, join a gym, start juicing, substitute the candy on your desk for a fruit bowl.
Changing your environment can absolutely assist you on your path of freedom from addiction, but this strategy is totally insufficient in actually preventing you from reverting to your old ways or getting free from them altogether. To truly get free from an addiction, you need a body, mind, spirit solution that addresses the underlying discomfort and dis-ease that drives you to the addiction pattern in the first place. Behavior modification is a surface fix that won’t have permanent results.
A bad habit can go away through sheer self-motivation. You can coach yourself out of a bad habit through positive thinking and mindset training.
Coaching yourself out of an addiction is like getting into a bus with a driver who’s under the influence. Here’s a few reasons why it’s not a good idea:
- For one, you’re not thinking clearly. This is the big paradox of the addicted mind. It thinks it is being perfectly logical and that it has what it takes to finally beat this. But really it’s operating in delusions that it can’t see.
- Secondly, if you are trying to coach yourself and do everything on your own, then you’re most likely trying to implement the same tools and thinking that brought you to where you are right now. These tools are perfect if what you want is to stay where you are at. But if you want to be free, and go further than where you are now, then you’re going to need new tools, an entirely new approach and most likely a new coach.
- And lastly, let’s face it, most of us typically suck at self-motivation. Have you ever joined a gym and stopped going after a week? Bought a self-study course you didn’t finish? Decided to meditate every day and bailed by day two?
We’ve all experienced that burst of inspiration followed by a fading motivation that stalls out within a week or so. Well, 10x this phenomenon when it comes to addiction, and you’ll start to understand why trying to “coach” yourself through your addiction and being your own cheerleader just doesn’t work. Because what usually happens when we hit one of our stumbling blocks if we’re going at it alone, is we’ll lose steam, get side-tracked, fall off and never get back.
5. Good Habit:
A bad habit will go away by replacing it with a good habit. Been eating ice cream every night? Swap it for a yogurt. Working late again? Set an alarm for 5 o’clock and walk away from your desk no matter what. Wasting hours in screen time? Pick up an art project instead.
An addiction won’t go away by subbing out a good habit. You can have that yogurt chilling in the fridge, but when you walk to the kitchen, you’ll hear the Haagen Dazs calling “pick me! pick me!” You may set that alarm at 5, but when it goes off, you’ll tell yourself, just this last thing… You can have your new paints and canvas laid out on the dining room table, but if that desire hits you to scroll through your feed or binge-watch your favorite series, you’ll ditch the crafts in a second.
Bottom line is that much like changing your environment, surface fixes like trading out a pizza for a bag of popcorn will not actually free you from the addiction. For that, you’ll need a deeper approach. One that gets to the root of what is blocking you and frees you of that. Because once that happens, the underlying discomfort and dis-ease that drove you to addiction will be replaced with an internal sense of ease and comfort and that will cause the addiction pattern to fall away.
This kind of freedom from addiction doesn’t happen overnight. But it does happen – I have witnessed it in countless others – and in my experience, is available to anyone willing to get honest and ask for help. ❤️
Ok, so how did your sabotage pattern match up? Do you sense you have an addiction or bad habit going on? Hit reply and let me know.
And remember, whatever pattern is currently playing out for you, know that this is not a sign that you’re never going to “get this” or that “something is wrong with you.” This is actually a sign that you’re on the brink of a breakthrough and you’re probably closer than you think 🙂