Habits-Just what are they, why good habits are hard to make & bad habits even harder to break.

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Habits-Just what are they, why good habits are hard to make & bad habits even harder to break.

What is a habit?

Why is it so hard to make a new habit and break a bad one?

When setting a goal to create a new habit, It does always seem to be like an uphill struggle.

Why are healthy habits so hard to make, and most people fail?

It is now February and my local gym is starting to empty out, unlike the first week of January, I couldn’t get in the door.

So momentum had run out, the novelty had passed, the guilt of holiday overindulgence had been absolved and people reverted back to their old day to day routines.

It happens every January and lasts about a month. Do that year in and year out and that becomes a habit too. Habits are doing small things routinely, either daily, weekly, monthly or even annually.

Habit by default

It becomes an acquired habit, like all default habits, develops over time, and switches from the conscious to the subconscious mind. You form the habit from your conscious mind, with not much of a plan or a set goal, but because you are conditioned to. We do the same thing at other annual events and holidays. Human conditioning. We conform to family and society around us and follow age-old traditions, which are habits, without question. It is what our parents did, and their's did and so on.

From Conscious to subconscious

Learning to drive a car is a prime example of a conscious behavior evolving into a subconscious habit. When you first learn to drive you are extremely aware of how to drive, you have to think of what to do next as you are driving. It is all a learning, after a period of time and as you become more efficient, you don’t have to concentrate as much as you did before and it eventually becomes a habit and you actually drive with little conscious thought. Your subconscious goes through the motions and the act of driving becomes a fixed habit — automatic.

Like driving all habits can be learned, especially good habits. If you are consistent with your chosen task, behavior and goal, it does take up to 66 days for a habit to form. Once that habit is formed it occurs automatically or becomes part of your daily routine — Morning exercise routine, or meditation.

Bad Habits

e also pick up bad habits and they are picked up much in the same way as good ones, as something routinely is done will form a habit, over time. You take smoking as a prime example of a bad habit. All smokers who first smoke never think that this could be habit forming and thus difficult to stop. It is the same with all the bad habits. Many bad habits are learned and then engrained in our psyche and behavior, that is why a bad habit is so hard to break, and I’m not talking about addiction here, yet.

Not lifting the toilet seat, is a prime example. It is not that I am going out of my way to annoy my wife, it is just something I didn’t do from childhood, and I was unaware whether I was doing it or not. I think my sisters gave up telling me. Strangely enough, if I did sprinkle I always wiped the toilet seat!

Changing Habits

So what is more difficult, breaking a bad habit or forming a new good habit? Both are equally as hard to do as you have to be motivated to do it.

The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. One of My bad habits was sitting at home in the evening eating a bag of crisps. Instead of just NOT eating crisps, I have also begun doing micro exercises every day. I am in the process of replacing a bad habit with a new one. At first, I did miss my bag of crisps and the thought of doing exercises at 6 am horrified me, but now that I have been doing it for a few weeks, I’ve forgotten about the crisps, though I still struggle with the exercise routine, I’m getting there.


Our thoughts drive every aspect of our life, if many of our bad habits, or the habits we want to break, are default thoughts, then we first have to become aware of those thoughts that do limit us and “flip” them to more positive constructive ones. It does take time to do this and on many occasions, you have to become super aware, to be able to recognize a bad habit when it occurs. There is no use beating yourself up after you have repeated the bad habit, chalk it up and keep trying

I’ve quoted James Clear on making & breaking habits:

3 Ways to Form Better Habits
How to Build a New Habit: This is Your Strategy Guide: Read this guide right now to learn 5 easy, powerful strategies for changing habits.
The 3 R’s of Habit Change: How To Start New Habits That Actually Stick: Every habit you have — good or bad — follows the same 3–step pattern: Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior), routine (the behavior itself; the action you take), and reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior). This helpful framework can make it easier to stick to new habits so that you can improve your health, your work, and your life in general.
Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year: Most of the time we set our goals in the wrong way. Read this article to learn how identity-based habits can help you achieve your goals more easily.
3 Ways to Break Bad Habits
How to Break a Bad Habit and Replace It With a Good One: Want to learn how to break a bad habit? Read this article to discover the science of breaking bad habits and practical suggestions for making it happen.
How Vietnam War Veterans Broke Their Heroin Addictions: By simply removing yourself from an environment that triggers all of your old habits, you can make it easier to break bad habits and build new ones.
How to Declutter Your Mind and Unleash Your Willpower by Using “Bright-Line” Rules: A bright-line rule refers to a clearly defined rule or standard. It is a rule with clear interpretation and very little wiggle room. It establishes a bright line for what the rule is saying and what it is not saying. Most of us could benefit from setting brighter lines in our personal and professional lives.


To change your habits, good or bad, you have to take action. Sitting around waiting for it to change, just won’t cut it. You need to also ask yourself why you want to make/break a habit and OWN it. Do not be making changes if it is for someone else as your motivation to continue will fade as soon as theirs does.

Go ahead and Crush it!!!

Call to Action

At the end of the day, life is too short to mess about. We spend most of our lives wondering "what if?" Who knows and you never will unless you try.

I decided last year, as part of my quest to challenge myself, come out of my comfort zone, take a risk and do something totally out of the ordinary for me. I invested in ME.

I joined the SFM programme, and you could say the rest is history. I am on a new journey in life and I am enjoying the challenge. Had I not you would not be reading this now.

If you are like me or can identify with me, then I challenge you to follow in my footsteps, click the link below and see if it is something you would like to do. 

My Mentors will guide through a FREE On-Demand Workshop, with no obligation to go any further if you do not wish to. 

Thanks for reading

Dermot Mc Donough

How to make your first 10K online!