How to give up bad habits and develop new habits?

Habits shape our destiny so it is imperative that we always carefully cultivate good habits especially when we are young. What we think, what we do, how we live is heavily influenced by our habits.

The types of people with whom we associate, the kinds of books we read, the movies we watch, the sites we visit, the places we go all contribute in our habit formation.

As soon as we begin doing anything we sow the seed of habit formation. And  if we continue indulging in that action  again and again then the tiny little seed eventually becomes a gigantic tree. If we nurture good habits it will make our life beautiful. But if the habits are bad it will open the gateway of unlimited suffering.

By the time we realize we nurtured a wrong habit and we start trying to change it we find that its extremely difficult to change habits. It is not easy to uproot a tree whose roots have gone deep into the ground.  The mind becomes hardwired to think in a particular way, react in a certain way. The senses as per our habits start behaving in a particular pattern and eventually gets accustomed to it. No matter how much we try our attempt to undo the wrong habits gets thwarted again and again making us helpless. 

Changing habit is indeed difficult but not impossible. When a man gets stuck in a marshy land he needs support of someone who is strong enough to pull him out.

Similarly if we want to free ourselves from old habits we need the support of someone who has all the good habits which we want to have. If we start associating with such persons, taking his/her guidance then slowly but steadily we may begin cultivating desirable habits. Many a times we may not even know that our certain attitude is causing our downfall. But our life’s guide can help us identify those dark spots and give us solution to cleanse it.

Arjuna had Krishna with him who guided him when he was in a precarious situation.  Krishna is today available with us as Bhagavad Gita and if we study this life transforming literature scrutinizingly we get many important tips to transform our life for good.  Reading good books also equips us with better intelligence to take better decisions in our life. Along with that if we associate with those who are living by the teachings of Gita then we can understand how we can practically implement the principles of Gita in our life.

For example many who associated with Srila Prabhupada were eventually able to give up many terrible habits including drug addiction!

Another process which is very effective is mantra meditation like the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. When we chant we invoke the mercy of the Lord and the all-powerful loving and caring Krishna purifies all the impurities from our heart. Just like the rays of the sun which dissipates darkness holy names of Krishna removes the ignorance.

Chanting also helps us to gain better control over our flickering mind. It helps us to develop inner muscles by which we develop strength to say no to the irrational demands of the mind. We can then engage our mind in positive thoughts which can help us to grow in our life.

It will not be possible to free ourselves from bad habits immediately but if we start taking steps in the right direction by reading books like Bhagavad Gita, associating with people who live by the teachings of Gita and practice mantra – meditation then slowly but surely we would succeed in planting the seeds of good habits in our hearts.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. The process of giving up bad habits and developing new habits is nicely presented. Thanks Prabhuji. Hare Krishna.

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