How to weed out negative habits and achieve more

by Gideon Hanekom
June 9, 2015

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It is time to take action and weed out negative habits that are keeping you back and take control of your life and business again.

Benjamin Franklin once said,

Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones. 

Benjamin Franklin

The fact is, we all do things that can be annoying or that others find troublesome.

Sometimes, we even have a habit that’s irritating to us (even though we’re the ones doing it), but we find ourselves doing it over and over anyway.

So if we want to improve our situation, we must find a way to rise above that by first weed out the negative habits in our lives.

Here’s how…

Put these 7 steps into play to beat your negative habits:

1. Identify the issue.

In order to get rid of a weed, first, you have to notice it.

Negative habits are the same.

If you take a moment to recognise these undesirable ways, you’ve taken the first step toward doing something about them.

2. Increase self-awareness.

Now that you’ve identified the weed, notice how it’s choking out the cucumbers and tomatoes you’re trying to grow.

Negative habits result in negative consequences.

For example, when you interrupt your partner (the bad habit), their feelings get hurt or they get angry (the negative consequence).

When you eat muffins for breakfast (the bad habit), you’ll gain weight or end up with high cholesterol (the negative consequence).

3. Make a conscious decision.

If you want to expel a negative habit, make the choice to stop.

Rather than saying, “I’ll try to stop interrupting my partner,” say, “I won’t interrupt my partner.” 

Or more powerfully, “I’ll keep quiet when my partner’s speaking.”

4. Build in a safety net.

Come up with a plan to use when you slip back into your bad habit.

We call it a safety switch.

This “plan” should help you get back on track.

For example, say to yourself, “If I accidentally interrupt my partner, I’ll stop talking and apologise for it immediately.”

Since most of us find apologising less than enjoyable, you’ll learn that your safety net is meant to help you curb the habit.

5. Use diversion.

Some habits can be interrupted by diverting our attention.  We call these pattern interrupts.

For example, when your co-worker arrives with some cake, you could go to your office, close the door, and begin checking your email. Or you could go to talk to your supervisor about a project you’re working on.

Find a positive action to distract you while you’re avoiding the cake. Not only will you avoid the cake, but you’ll accomplish something positive as well!

6. Replace old habits with new ones.

Plan in advance to do a specific action each time you find yourself doing the old habit.  Again, the safety switch.  Replacement gives you the opportunity to implement a positive habit rather than the negative one you’re trying to avoid.

For example, rather than interrupting your spouse, you could gaze into their eyes and listen to every word. Instead of eating a muffin, you could eat a delicious yoghurt with fresh fruit.

7. Expect relapses, but cease the old behaviour swiftly.

Especially at the beginning, you’ll tend to backslide into your negative habit. Stop the behaviour the moment you notice it and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can rid yourself of that habit.

Weed out those negative habits and live in a “garden” that’s positive, healthy, and happy.

Your life is filled with plenty of positive actions.

Avoid letting those few negative ones take your life in an unfavourable direction.

These habits only as long as they remain unconscious triggers.

The moment you bring them into the light, managing and weeding them out becomes a lot easier.

It’s when they remain undercover that they cause some real damage.  So start putting the spotlight on your negative habits today, and take your power back.

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About the author 

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of, a renowned relationship blog that ranked among the top 50 relationship blogs and top 100 marriage blogs in 2021. The blog is dedicated to providing valuable insights on cultivating healthy relationships and love in daily life. Gideon holds a Master's degree in theological studies and transitioned into professional counseling almost a decade ago. In addition, he completed graduate and post-graduate studies in Psychology at Massey University. With over seventeen years of marriage to his wife and two children, Gideon brings both professional and personal experience to his relationship advice. His articles have been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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