January 27, 2017 |Gideon


How to Break Unhealthy Habits With 3 Simple Adjustments

Your life right now is the culmination of habits exercised over time. Every result you have in this moment, whether that is being overweight, fit and lean, broke, wealthy, unhappy, jubilant, single, happily married, whatever … it’s ALL the result of your habits. Habits of focus, thinking, feeling, behaviour, and action or re-action. That’s what it boils down to.

You might have been looking for some huge underlying reason or explanation but that’s what it ultimately comes down to. But, this fact is also a big opportunity to turn any result in your life around. The fastest way to create a new quality of life is by changing the quality of your habits. You must learn how to break unhealthy and unhelpful habits and replace them with healthy and helpful ones. This is the key to success. But it’s not always that easy to do. And chances are you know that already. So in this post, we will look at 3 simple adjustments you can make to break unhealthy habits and start creating better results in your life.


A few years ago I was more than  30 kg overweight, sick, and unhealthy. I wasn’t in a good place.

But I managed to turn things around.

During that process I learned 2 powerful lessons:

  1. To make a huge change in your life you must have an even bigger reason WHY you want to change or create a new result.
  2. To create lasting change in your life (or an area of your life) you must REPLACE unhealthy, unhelpful habits with healthy, helpful habits.

Why habits? Because habits are automatic behaviour that we do without thinking.

Unless your new behaviour becomes a habit, i.e. an unconscious, automatic behaviour that you do without thinking, your results will be short lived.

You will have to rely on willpower, which is a very ineffective strategy. Simply because, willpower is a limited resource. You can only “force” yourself so much, before giving in or giving up.

It’s super important to realise how powerful unhealthy, unhelpful habits really are.

Unhealthy habits can have more impact on your life than you ever imagined. You may try to overlook obvious unhelpful habits like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating unhealthily etc., but they ultimately end up wreaking havoc in your life. It’s equally easy to overlook more “covert” habits like procrastination, quitting, and self-doubt, but I can almost guarantee you that their negative effects will spill over into every area of your life also.

There is no getting away from unhealthy, unhelpful habits. Left to their own devices they can destroy any good intentions and any positive result or goal you desire.

The question you must ask yourself right now is, don’t you think it may be time to break those negative habits, and replace them with habits and behaviours that can actually get you what you want?

Imagine how your life could change if you let go of them and replaced your unhealthy habits with positive,  healthy, helpful habits and behaviours instead.

Your health stands to benefit, your relationships will blossom, and your confidence would soar. Everything runs the risk of being improved. But that’s a risk worth taking!

So how do we do it?

We begin by making three simple life adjustments.

I’ve learned from my own life and having worked with hundreds of clients, that small adjustments or small incremental improvements are the most effective way to create a new result in almost any area of life and business.

People often times want the big secret or the big thing they can do to turn things around, but this is a mistake. When we make small, calculated, and effective changes, we typically get better results over time.

Let’s begin to break your unhealthy habits with 3 simple life adjustments:
  1. Consider the repercussions.

A surefire way of motivating yourself to break unhealthy habits is to consider how they negatively impact your life. Quite possibly, they also affect the lives of friends and family.

If your conscience kicks in during this phase, that’s a good thing. It means that you’re fully aware of the impact of those unhealthy habits. Perhaps you’ve been blocking them out of your mind, but now you acknowledge it’s time to make a change.

People are typically more motivated by fear than gain. This is very important to remember about your own motivation too.

Even though we might say we want to achieve such and such because we will get this and this from it, the reality is any result we typically envision also moves us away from something else we fear.

For example, I might say that I’m expanding my business to make more money, but the greater motivator would be the fear that not making more money might mean letting my family down, or not being respected by others.

When we want to break unhealthy habits, we have to consider how they negatively impact our results. We then use that fear to motivate us into breaking and replacing them with more positive, healthy, and helpful habits. I call this, creating mental leverage. This is exactly what I used to lose around 30 kg, become healthy and fit again, as well as a world ranked masters sprinter in my age group.

Another way of putting it is, what is the cost of your current unhealthy habits?

If you can really envision and feel the cost of your current unhealthy habits to yourself as well as those around you, you will experience a motivational energy that will kickstart your desire to create better results.

Wouldn’t you prefer to just live with your mind at ease, knowing that you doing everything you can to do right by yourself and those you love?

If that’s the case, realise that taking control of the outcome of situations is the first step toward having a relaxed mind and heart.

Think of yourself, your dreams and future, as well as your loved ones, and avoid letting your bad habits and actions hurt any of these.

It’s simply not worth it.

  1. Determine the desired results.

Take a moment to go through your “life wish list.”

How many have you accomplished?

What changes can you make to your life so those wish list items become a reality?

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when trying to create better results in their life or business, is being unsure or unclear about the desired result.

They might have some idea, but it’s not dialled in.

Getting what you want, whatever it might be, requires you to be very clear about the desired result.

Without clarity you cannot achieve any goal!

One, because you don’t know where you’re going. And two, without knowing where you’re going you can’t know whether or when you’ve arrived or not.

Therefore, prioritise your desired wishes. Focus on them one at a time. Then, look at what needs to change, so that you can achieve them. If it means breaking bad habits, then go for it! If it means adopting new habits, then go for that!

Whatever it takes …

Listen, when you decide to focus on your goals, you automatically change your way of thinking.


Because energy flows where focus goes. I know it’s an old saying, but it’s true.

Whatever we focus on in our mind, expands in reality.

The more you focus on seeing opportunities, the more you will see them. But conversely, the more you focus on reasons for the seemingly lack of opportunities, the more closed doors you’ll encounter.

Therefore, discover a strategy for reminding yourself daily of the goals you’re aiming for. And renew your commitment to them each day.

I don’t care of that means meditation, declaring affirmations, reading something inspiring, listening to some piece of music, reading through your list of goals,  writing a new list of goals every morning etc. – just commit to a strategy you can do every day to renew your commitment to your desired outcomes.

And in the process, make sure you focus on self-driven priorities, rather than those dictated by others.

Because, at the end of the day, you’re the only one who knows how to make yourself truly happy.

You are you, and they are them. Nobody knows what is good for you except you. So listen to others, for the sake of learning and growing, but at the end of today make up your own mind what is true and real for you.

Then adjust your life to that.

  1. Challenge yourself.

Many people like to think they are unconquerable. Maybe you do too.

If that’s the case, why not challenge yourself to breaking an unhealthy habit?

As a rule, people grow through challenges.

We might not always like challenges, but we definitely need them to get better. It’s only when we are challenged that we push ourselves a little bit more than usual. Sometimes a lot more.

We need to use that to our advantage.

Challenging yourself is healthy and will benefit your life when it means making positive life changes.

But surprisingly, you may find it more difficult that you expected. And that’s what makes it a challenge!

However, when you make life a little uncomfortable for yourself and you choose to see it through, you might discover just how much resilience and determination you actually possess.

You need to tap into those positives and overcome your undesirable habits.

So rather than seeing your unhealthy habits as something insurmountable, why not see it as a mountain to be conquered?

See it as a challenge. Challenge yourself. Throw the gauntlet out.

I know talk is easy and you, like I, like talking in some areas of our life.

But the time for talking is over when it comes to your real desired results in life. Talking, doesn’t help much here. You have to want more, step up, and then make it happen.

And that might mean feeling uncomfortable and out of your comfort zone at times. But that’s the price of admission.

Listen, if every worthwhile result was easy to get, everyone would be super happy and successful. But they’re not. And the reason is because people as a rule avoid fear, discomfort, and the unknown.

But, your success lies beyond these things. I know you know this, and have probably heard this a thousand times before, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

It might be commonsense, but until it becomes common practice in your life, you will never have the results you desire.

Therefore, take it one day at a time. According to experts, a habit takes 66 days on average to form. Try using that milestone to beat those unhealthy behaviours! Don’t worry about the two months, just start by conquering every hour of every day. It all adds up in the end.

Final thoughts

With this formula for success under your belt, you’re equipped with the tools required to conquer your unhealthy, unhelpful habits.

It’s worth doing because the quality of life is better in the long run.

So take a stand and make positive changes today. It’s within your power to make it happen!

If you have more questions, or comments, please leave them below.

To your success,

Gideon H.

About the author


Gideon is the founder of TheRelationshipGuy.com, a top-50 relationship blog (2021) and top-100 marriage blog (2021) focused on providing healthy relationship advice about love and life. He earned a Master's degree in theological studies before training as a professional counsellor and hypnotherapist (DipProfCouns., DipMSHT.) almost 10 years ago. He is currently pursuing further graduate Psychology studies at Massey University while working as a relationship and dating blogger the majority of the time. He has been married to his wife for over fifteen years and is the father of two children.

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