How To Change Bad Habits (Shortcut)

Today I wanted to share with you a little bit of a mindset hack on how to change bad habits. It’s a little trick that will allow you to rapidly change your life.

It’s been said that we are what we repeatedly do. Success, therefore, is a habit. So, here's what I know for certain: Our habits create results. Whether they're empowering habits creating great results, or disempowering habits creating bad results, our habits ALWAYS generate a result.

But, did you know that there is a shortcut to changing habits, and it can be found in something psychologists refer to as "secondary gain?"

If I was to sum up secondary gain, it kind of works like this: for every action you take, there is a secondary benefit, and that benefit comes in the form of a feeling.

Identifying Your Habit

Let's just say that I have a habit of swimming every day. After my 45-minute swimming session, I get changed and get ready for work. And when I'm driving to work, I feel this sense of confidence. I feel confident because I had a great swimming session.

So, we would say in that instance that the secondary gain of swimming is the feeling of being confident. Every habit we have gives us a feeling of some description. Therefore, the secret on how to change bad habits is you find the feeling that you get from that bad habit, and you move that across to a brand new habit.

Let me make it a little bit practical for you.

Let's just say that you are currently a smoker. You smoke cigarettes, and you’re thinking of breaking the habit. What we know is this: People who smoke cigarettes often have the secondary gain of belonging.

When you think about it, if you're at work and everyone's going out for a smoko break and you go out for a smoko break with them, you get to belong to that group of people who are smoking.

Even though you don't enjoy smoking cigarettes, the sense of belonging you get by being inside that group while everybody's smoking a cigarette is the secondary gain.

People don't realise that often, it's not the nicotine that they're addicted to. In fact, a huge amount of research has been shown that nicotine has a very small impact on our addiction to the behaviour of smoking.

What has the greatest impact is the secondary gains we're getting.

Another reason why people smoke cigarettes is that they get a sense of rebelliousness. This could be because movies have advertised that people who smoke cigarettes are rebellious. So when they light up a cigarette, they feel this sense of rebellion inside their system.

So how do you go about breaking the habit and move onto something else? Maybe write a book and become a bestselling author instead?

How To Change Bad Habits

When changing habits such as smoking to writing a book, we get the secondary gain from smoking and move it across to the writing.

If we do that effectively, the second your psychology works out that the secondary gain is still there, and the new action is even better for you, you will take it straight away.

It's almost like a magic trick!

So how do we practically do this?

We must identify how does writing a book make me feel even more rebellious and give me a greater sense of belonging than smoking?

Discovering Your Secondary Gain

Once I work out how writing a book can give me a greater sense of rebelliousness and a sense of belonging, my brain will begin the transition.

Here's the most fascinating thing. Your body doesn't want to do the action of smoking. It just wants the payoff - the secondary gain. It just wants the feelings of rebelliousness and belonging.

Once we understand this we can start to map things across.

Some reasons why being an author is rebellious:

  • You get to put forth any idea you like
  • You get to buck the system
  • You get to challenge the status quo out there
  • You get to write things that are permanently imprinted inside your books that can never be changed throughout the history of time
  • You get to say what you mean

Being an author is probably one of the most rebellious things a person can do. Once a smoker understands that rebelliousness is the secondary gain, they can move into writing books, and they'll drop smoking right away.

So how does writing a book give you a greater sense of belonging?

When you write a book, you can set up book clubs where you'll have a community and a following. You'll be able to go to different bookstores and chat about your books. You’ll also have a whole tribe of people discussing things that are in your book. You'll be able to belong to an entire group of people associated with the books that you're writing, which will give you an incredible sense of belonging.

How To Change Bad Habits By Implementing Your Secondary Gain

Here's my advice: If you want to develop any new habit, look at your current habits and then work out what you’re getting from those habits. Then just map them across to your new habits.

Even if you have a current empowering habit, like swimming, where you're able to get your confidence from, just get that confidence and map it across to new habits.

We hope you enjoyed this post, “How To Change Bad Habits (Shortcut)” and learned how to change your life for the better. If you would like to discover even more effective techniques on how to coach yourself to success as well as the people around you, please come to our powerful 1-day online event called “Turning Point Intensive”.

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Read more about: Mindset

Ben is the Difference-Maker Mentor and Co-founder of Authentic Education. He is exquisite at inspiring people to share their message, make a difference in the world and live abundantly on purpose.

Ben has been featured in media such as the Today Show,,, Huffington Post and