Why Are Habits Hard To Break?

Habits are hard to break because that is the nature of habits. They are a program built by your subconscious mind to make your life easier and give you time for other things.

Consider for a moment all the routine chores that you perform every day. Do you brush your teeth every morning, make your bed, shower, prepare breakfast, straighten the house, get dressed, go to work or school? And this is only the first part of your day! We have hundreds, maybe thousands, of tasks to do each day – can you imagine what it would be like if every one of them took an effort just to get started? If they were not a routine and regular part of your day?

Your subconscious mind knows that making routines easy and natural benefits you, and that is why it programs routines into habits that become natural and second nature. Taking this image one step further, picture each one of your habits and daily routines as a large round boulder on a gently sloping hill. The boulder is about the same size you are and because it is round and the ground gently slopes you can see it moving steadily down the hill. You are grateful for the subconscious mind placing these boulders on a gently sloping hill. You do not want to push every one of them uphill every day. As you look across the field, you see hundreds of boulders, all naturally moving downhill, barely taking any effort on your part. Whew! What a relief not to have to manage all those boulders!

Now let’s say you decide to stop one of those boulders (habits/routines). It is going to be hard to stop a boulder that large and rolling down a hill. Then it will continue to take an effort to keep it from rolling anymore because even when you stop that boulder, it is still a round, heavy, boulder perched on a downhill slope.

Habits are hard to break because that is the nature of habits. They are a program built by your subconscious mind to make your life easier and give you time for other things. Humans are the only creatures on this planet that have the conscious awareness to recognize habits we want to stop and then stop them. If you remain compassionate and understanding of the reason habits are created by your subconscious mind, you will stop fighting your subconscious mind and learn to work with it, and you will more easily succeed.

But you must remain diligent, because like any large round boulder on a gently sloping hill they may roll again, and unless you stop them right away they will build momentum and be even harder to stop later. Better to put another wedge under them the moment you see them starting to roll. Eventually, there will be enough undergrowth to keep them in place.