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Usually, bad habits bring good experience — or at least we take it that way. It gives us an immediate satisfying feeling that we may never want to leave behind. For instance, Babur insults someone; it makes him feel superior. Nawed takes a bribe; it fills his pocket. Nadia watches TV excessively; it makes her forget about her present and similarly other things. However, how do we get rid of this pleasing feeling from bad habits?
Before we get into the how part, let us talk about what ignites these bad habits, why do we still have bad habits while we are good people? We do good things regularly. Such we may treat other people with good manners, we may show gratitude to Allah (God), and many other things. However, it does not help us avoid bad habits because our good habits are just part of our system. There is no intentional practice attached to it.
For example, most of us pray, and yet we see it does not change our behavior and does not help us gain inner peace because we pray out of our habits with no intentional practice.
In other words, a good habit is only useful when we master it. Otherwise, it is just a habit. Here is a little formula to help us master our habits:
Mastery = Habits + Intentional Practice — this way, we do not miss out on the little mistakes and do things with full intention.
Now, let us talk about the how part. How do we break our bad habits?
There are so many ways to break our bad habits. One way is to make them unpleasing. Let us suppose; we backbite about our friend in a group. It does not feel unpleasing; instead, it makes us feel good and superior. So, how do we make this unpleasing? Next time, we are in a similar situation; we can ask ourselves, how would we feel if they would backbite about us?
Alternatively, let us suppose we take a bribe. It makes us feel good. It fills our pockets — no unpleasing moment here. However, if we wish to detach from it, we must make it unpleasing. For instance, next time someone offers us bribery, we can tell ourselves; if we take this, Karma will hit back and will make us spend double the money in unexpected ways, our beloved ones, or we can end up being in a hospital.
First, we must master our good habits by adding intentional practice to our daily practices. Lastly, we must make our bad habits unpleasing. Only then, we will feel happy to detach from the bad habits.