Your life is governed mainly by your subconscious mind. And habits are something that are ingrained in your subconscious mind. Not all habits are wrong. For example, brushing your teeth every day is a habit. And if you don’t brush your teeth you don’t feel comfortable. And it should be that way! Taking a bath is a habit. You take a shower every day. And if you don’t take a shower, it won’t feel good. Similarly, people having coffee, if they don’t have coffee they get a headache! Whether coffee is good or not, is up to the individual. And their doctors. Certain habits give you pain which are not good for you, for your body, for your mind, or your spirit.

Your inability to break a habit causes a pinch and when you are deeply pained by something, the pain will rid you of that habit.

~ Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

 Like for example, people who are addicted to alcoholism. Or cigarettes, for example. Knowing well that smoking is injurious to health, they still do it. Why? Habit promises joy, but doesn’t really deliver it to you. How to get over these habits? There are three ways:


If you promise to someone whom you love very much, suppose you promise your daughter, or your wife, or your mother, someone very dear to you, and you promise them, you will follow through that out of love. First of all, you can’t leave your habit that makes you miserable, on top of it being unable to keep the promise makes you even more miserable. If the habit is so deep in you, if you feel you cannot get over it, I would tell you to take it for a limited time, period of time, say 10 days or one month. I will not do this habit. This is easier for you, one step at a time, you will be successful.


The second way is fear. When your doctor says, one more puff, that’s it, your liver is going to be irreparable and your lung will collapse. You cannot touch even one single cigarette. Then, out of fear, you can get over that habit. 


Third is greed. Say, someone tells you that you will get one million dollars if you don’t smoke for one whole month then you will say, ‘Why one month, I will not smoke for 35 days. Five extra days to make sure the counting is right.’ Greed can stop you from habits that you don’t like. So that the greed in you, the greed to get that money, something higher than that will help you to let go of those habits. So three things, fear, love, and greed. Don’t promise yourself, forever I will do. 

Fear and love are the best ones to choose. In the end, you will realise by yourself, ‘Oh! It is painful. It is misery that I am buying by continuing with this habit.’ So, one day when you realise this, then it will drop the habit itself.

“Practise Any practice is a practice when it is done over a period of time without any gap, steadily, respectfully, honouring it every day. Only then does it become firmly established. “

~ Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

How to create a good habit?

To make a good habit discipline is the key. And here too, the same three emotions can be used to create a good habit.

  • Love: When you love something, you will follow it, you will do it. When you love yoga, you will do it. When you love weight lifting you will do it. If you love karate, there is no way nobody can, anybody will be able to stop you, you will want to do it. If you love music, you will sit and practise it. So love creates the habit.
  • Greed: If someone tells you if you do Surya Namaskara every day for the next 40 days, you’ll get a million dollars. You will not do it for just 40 days; you will do it for 45 days just to be on the safe side! Two days before, two days later, so that I don’t miss any count. Greed can propel you to be, to have some discipline.  
  • Fear: If someone tells you if you don’t do yoga, you are going to get this, this, this problem in the next month or so. You’ll be terrified. You say oh, I don’t want to get this problem, let me do it.  


Your life is governed mainly by your subconscious mind. And habits are ingrained in your subconscious mind. Breaking bad habits and forming good ones require harnessing emotions. Love of close family can help remove bad habits; love for an activity can build a good habit. Greed for some gain can motivate to drop harmful habits and adopt good ones. Fear of disease can help drop bad habits and cultivate good ones. Fear is the worst motivator; greed is also not so good but love, love is the best way to rise up from bad habits and effortlessly nurture good ones.

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