Why You’re Struggling to Break Your Bad Habits – Part 2

In this series, we’re examining the reasons you might be struggling to break your bad habits. In part 1, we discussed one of these reasons: bad habits that induce pleasure are hard to break. When you enjoy a bad habit, you struggle to let it go. You’re hooked on that habit because it’s pleasurable.

Another reason that you may be struggling to break a bad habit is that it provides you relief from pain. Habits that fall into that category are usually coping mechanisms you’ve adopted to protect you from pain.

For example, when you’re anxious, you bite your nails, or when you’re stressed, you need to run to the mall and spend money (even if it means spending money that you don’t have).

Biting your nails provides you temporary relief from your anxiety, or at least it makes it easier to bear. Spending money makes you feel better about yourself and releases some of the stress.

As humans, we don’t like pain. And we’ll do whatever we can to avoid it. That’s why we take medication when we feel pain in our body. We swallow a small pill and the pain is gone. Similarly, we pick up bad habits that help us cope with some form of pain. These bad habits are hard to break because they serve an important purpose in our lives: they “protect” us from pain (or make your pain more bearable, at least).

If only you could remove the stressor and the source of anxiety from your life, you would no longer need the coping mechanisms. But because life is life: it brings stressful moments and causes of anxiety and fear, you struggle to let go of your coping mechanisms.

Every time you try to break that habit, something happens that stresses you out, and you go right back to your bad habit because that’s where your comfort lies.

Pain is part of life. In life, you’ll experience stress, anxiety, fear, and other emotions that would prefer to avoid.

The good news is that you don’t have to remain a prisoner for destructive coping mechanisms; you can find new ways to cope with pain. In fact, you don’t have to swipe your credit card like to get relief from stress. There are other ways—more constructive ways—to get your relief. For example, you can go to the gym and exercise.

When you’re struggling to break a habit because that habit has become a crutch or a coping mechanism, you must find another way to deal with the situation that triggers the habit. In some cases, you might need professional help.

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.