It’s one thing to learn about your habit and how it affects your mind and heart, your relationships and even society. It’s another thing to understand about how change takes place and the path of healing and recovery from the habit and its effects. Just as you wouldn’t think of renovating your garage without understanding how it’s done and what to expect, so you need to become familiar with what it takes to renovate yourself.

Understand How the Habit Works

The way a well-formed habit works has been studied. Something that makes you think of it is a trigger–seeing something, feeling something (like rejected). What happens after the trigger might be something like this:

emo response: curiosity or excitement, simultaneous with–
first thought:  “what if I  search for”  curiosity ,  it will do no harm (permission beliefs)
chem release: anticipatory chem release, leading us to go to the satisfaction
body language:  trembling,  feelings in groin,  sweating, dilated pupils
battle , inner debate, second thoughts about the temptation:  “no one will know”, “i always have to give in anyway”, “i hate to go to my spouse and get rejected”  vs. “I hate this, my wife does not like this, it does not make me happy”. Which thought wins?
behavior chosen, action of the habit

Recognize  this process and learn how to prevent or disrupt it.


  • More sophisticated video explanation of the stages of change, by Nathan Smith

General discussion of the process of personal change, part 1, by PM staffer, John R. Williams (audio file)

Next On Overcoming: Get Committed

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