How to Break A Habit That Limits Your Growth

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When it comes to creating the life that  you want, learning  how to break a habit that is causing a limitation on your growth is an essential step to making the change. No matter what type of change you want, you will find that you have limiting habitual patterns that keep you from achieving more with your life.

Lately, I have been working a lot to break a habit in my own life, and finding that it isn’t always easy. However, there are certain patterns that will keep you from making the change that you want. Identifying your own habitual patterns will really make things easier. So, how do you find those patterns?

Creating More Awareness

One of the first steps to changing any habitual pattern is to completely accept the habit. You started this pattern to meet your needs, and you have to find out how you are meeting your needs, and accept that this pattern served a purpose in your life.

In order to create the awareness, you need to look at your needs, and rate them on a scale of 1-10 with how you are meeting them with that habit.

Any habit that is meeting 3 or more needs at a high level ( 8 or above) is an addiction, and it becomes really difficult to break the limiting pattern.

All Habits are Meeting Your Needs

Once you accept the problem completely, and become aware of how you are meeting your needs, you also need to dig a little deeper, and see what the deeper problem that is causing you to fall into that pattern is. You have certain things that will trigger the habit, and identifying these triggers will be essential to disarming them.

This might be something physical or emotional that happens. Most often, your habits are formed by having a belief that sets off an emotional reaction. The habit is simply a way of meeting your needs in a moment of emotional vulnerability.

We spend our lives trying to avoid being vulnerable, but when you learn to embrace and celebrate your vulnerability, you can then empower yourself to create a new habit that replaces the old one. Which brings up our next point.

Replacing a Habit is More Effective than Just Eliminating It

Have you ever seen a tree pulled up and rooted out? When you remove a tree, it leaves a huge hole in the ground, and something has to fill up that hole.

Your habits have deep roots in meeting your needs, and in order to remove a habit, you will leave a big hole inside, just like the tree. If you don’t replace that hole with something possitive, you will refill it with more of the same thing, because you are comfortable with that

Learning how to break a habit isn’t easy. It will often test your resolve and commitment. these tips will help you get started, but if you want a more detailed explanation , I highly recommend that you check out my guide below to Embracing Your Life.

About James Pruitt

James Pruitt is an author, blogger, and speaker in the areas of personal balance, personal growth, and creating inner peace. He has studied and worked with people since 1994 in the areas of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical balance and healing. Check out more at


  1. 25 June 12, 7:52pm

    I kn ow it’s bit off topic because It’s only related to the challenge of quitting old habits . I’ve been an on smoker now for 5 years, it was an amazing challenge for me to get our of the habits that come with this bad habit… First when I’m on the PC I always reach for a smoke, when I’m playing games where’s the smoke, after dinner of food where’s the smoke. I replaced it all with a glass of water, now when I’m thirsty I fond myself confusing ti with cigarette cravings. Is that messed up lol?

    • 10 August 12, 11:12am

      LOL, I have found that happens when you replace a habit sometimes Brian.

      5 years, wow. Im hoping to make it to 5 weeks 😀

  2. 04 July 12, 9:16pm

    It is important to recognise how the habit serves you as well as understanding why you’re in the habit, in the first.

    Certainly do ‘own’ the habit but you also need to want to break it as well. I know when it comes to smoking, some people only think they want to quit but in their hearts, they love the habit … that’s going to be challenging to break something that you truly do still like doing.

    Good info, James.

    • 09 July 12, 7:40am

      it has definitely been a challenge. however, part of the awareness stage is coming to accept why you still like the habit. there are reasons you have every habitual pattern in your life, and you have to accept both sides. I like the way smoking makes me feel, and if that was all there was to it, I would keep doing it. however, I know it will kill me if I don’t stop.

  3. Joy
    09 July 12, 1:21am

    Thanks for this article James. I agree with you that instead of concentrating on how to break away from an old habit, it would help a lot to focus on starting a new and positive habit. The more thought you give to your old habit will all the more reinforce its power on you. When your focus is shifted to acquiring a new habit, you don’t actually realize that you are slowly (and successfully) veering away from the old habit.

    • 10 August 12, 11:14am

      That is true Joy. shifting your mental focus is one of the pillars to creating any habitual change.

  4. 07 August 12, 5:55am

    Hey James

    This is quite an inspirational post. Accepting a habit that hampers your growth and working towards improving it involves lots of efforts. I can’t agree with you more on the last point. It’s extremely difficult to do away with a habit, but replacing it with something else can help fill the void.

    • 10 August 12, 11:15am

      replacement is definitely the way to go. I have tried time and again in the past to just remove a habit, but it always leaves that void that has to be filled up again.

  5. 08 August 12, 9:32pm

    Bad habits can have devastating effects on personal and professional life. Smoking, gambling, drugs are some of the mentionable ones that have taken a terrible toll on the lives of many. You have given us an inspirational read as always- i hope it will help people with bad habits take the necessary steps to break them.

  6. 22 August 12, 10:35pm

    Hello James!

    Stepping out of your comfort zone to break a bad and destructive habit is an admirable thing to do. The best of luck to all of us!

    Thanks for the share.

    • 23 August 12, 8:52am

      Thanks Emilia. Its easy to do what you have always done, and there is comfort in the certainty of knowing what your results will be like. However, if you don’t like the results you are getting, you have to change, or else the results remain the same.

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