Is a Bad Habit Sucking the Life out of Your Healthy Habits?

Today we have the marvelous Lori Carpenos with us to bravely tackle the “Bad” side of our Habits. Over here at Bliss Habits we generally turn a blind eye to the dark side (ok so I watched some Star Wars this weekend!) of Habits, but Lori wisely tells us we need to take a look. When we do the joy and juice of our good habits awaits!

Lori has also generously offered a 30 minute telephone coaching or therapy session to one of our readers as a gift for the Blogversary-apolooza. Check that out at the end of the post, but first let’s hear what Lori has to say:

"Voice in My Head" by Miss Mindy (click image for details)

Time to reflect…

There are only 24 hours in a day… At some point in my adult life, I began to ask myself how I wanted to spend that time. Prior to that, I doubt I gave much thought to my current habits. They were just there.

I’ve had smoking habits, running habits, diet habits, even sleep habits. The order in which I put makeup on each day, the route I drive to work every morning, habits too. I’ve gotten myself caught up in being late of late and I’m even aware of the thinking I do that creates that outcome — but it does little good because my bad habit of being late overpowers my best intentions to be on time. I think: I could overcome my habit of being late, if only I had the time!

Most of us don’t consciously choose bad habits over healthy ones. Bad habits typically happen without awareness, yet they get in the way, keeping us from establishing healthy habits. Bad habits seem to sneak up on us out of nowhere. They lurk in the background, ready to pounce in our weakest moments. Bad habits drain us of time, bank accounts, health, and most importantly — our mental health.

So why are they so hard to shake if there are all these unfortunate consequences?

Do you think it might be worth some reflection to see if you can get to the bottom of it?

· Why do you think it’s hard to let go of something that harms you?
· What do you think it might bring you that you hadn’t realized?
· How does the reward of the bad habit trump the good habit?

How often do you make impulsive choices without considering the long term effects? Is this truly the way you would like to paint your future? We are easily blinded, immersed in the reality of a particular moment. Moments get colored by feelings.

When our state of mind drops, it becomes easy to get hi-jacked by our own thinking. I just got a picture of hitting my head with a hammer.

For instance, take these examples:

A Female point of view…

In the midst of a party a stray thought sneaks up and shouts — That’s right, “go ahead, have another piece of cake – it will serve my husband right for telling me he prefers the way I looked last year when I was a smaller size.“

In that moment of personal reality, you may have forgotten that you had asked him at least a dozen times if he preferred the way you looked last year when you were a size smaller. All you can think about now is how much you want to punish him for answering you truthfully. How dare he? But who are you really punishing?

A Male point of view…

Just home from a long day of work, thinking — “All I want to do is relax for half an hour, then I can be more responsive but since she’s already started to nag me, I’m just going to pretend I don’t even hear her…I just need to vedge and she should know that about me by now!”

In that moment of personal reality, you may not realize that you never actually did tell her that you need a half hour of quiet, zone out time when you first get home, to recharge your batteries. Yes, you’ve gotten into fights over her nagging, but you never calmly let her know this fact about how you operate, and BTW – you may have to remind her of this a few times before SHE remembers it too!

I’ll get a little personal with you now in reflecting on my own bad habit of being late. I’m quite embarrassed to admit this problem because I’m a therapist! How dare I be late for clients coming to talk to me about their deepest, darkest thoughts. They trust me with their souls and I can’t even be courteous enough to be on time for them?

It makes no sense — I love my clients, every one of them. I love them for their humanity, and for their humility. I love their amazing ability to create a life for themselves and for their stories of deep, deep love for others. I love them for their capacity for resilience, and I’m in awe of their ability to bounce back from the most difficult situations imaginable. How dare I be even one minute late, never mind ten minutes late?

Well, I’ll tell you how that is possible.

I justify it in my head:

I tell myself:

· Well, the Psychiatrist I worked for ten years ago would sometimes keep patients in the waiting room for TWO Hours! Two is correct; it is not a typo!
· I’m in the middle of writing my book and I’m on such a roll how can I stop now — just one more sentence, which turns into another sentence and another.
· I’ve gotten to my office in six minutes — I can do it again…yes, as long as there is no one else on the road and every traffic light along the way happens to be green…What would the law of probability have to say about that one?
· Just this one more thing to take care of— so my head will be clear as a bell when I get into listening mode.

Guess what? It’s all a bunch of hogwash and luckily I know something about the innocence of human thoughts so I don’t have the need nor the desire to get down on myself for my ridiculous thinking. Having taken the time to reflect here with you, I SEE it much more clearly now. I’ve had my priorities screwed up. My desire to drop my negative habit of being late outweighs my desire to complete a task or suck another minute out of my time in front of my computer.

I REALIZE how much the lives of my clients outweigh all of this personal stuff. I now SEE how selfish that thinking has been. However, I forgive myself because I know how obnoxious and underhanded our personal thoughts can be. I also realize how wonderful it is that we’re capable of reflecting on our own thinking, and catch ourselves in the act of thinking something that won’t get us where we want to be…we all want to be better at being human — it’s built into us; that’s how it seems to me, anyway!

Writing about this made me reflect more on my wanting to be on time for other people, I have renewed hope that I can get on top of it. I hope it helps you reflect on your own bad habits and how to get on top of them. I’d love to hear what you think.

Lori Carpenos, LMFT

Lori Carpenos, uses her understanding of TheThree Principles, to guide her in her life and her work, as a marriage and family therapist, and business and personal life coach.


Thanks for that Lori! I can definitely see how easy I justify my actions. Something to pay attention to for certain!!

And now on to our giveaway:

30 Minute 3 Principles Coaching or Therapy Session from Lori Carpenos


A 30 minute telephone coaching or therapy session from marriage and family therapist, Lori Capernos.
What to expect: A fresh understanding about your Innate Health and how to access it in any given moment. Lori will also provide you with other free resources to help you on your path!

How to win your 3 Principles Session

1. In the comments below tell us if this post has you thinking about your bad habits differently.

Bonus Entries:

2. In a separate comment tell Lori why you would like to win!

3. Stop by Lori’s blog and leave a comment on What is Free Will and How Does It Affect Us?

4. Tweet the following:

I just entered to win @LCarpenos  ‘s coaching session in @BlissHabits Blogversary #apolooza

Do all four and you have four chances to win!

Winner will be selected at random from all entries received by Friday, June 1, 2012

This contest has concluded. We have a winner! Congratulations Corina!!

Check out the complete Blogversary-apolooza giveaway list and learn how you can double your chances!!

Good Luck!!

2 thoughts on “Is a Bad Habit Sucking the Life out of Your Healthy Habits?

  1. Corina says:

    I liked this post because it really made me think about looking at the whole story when wanting to change a habit, and the petty justifications we give ourselves whe we don’t suceed. Whether this shall stop me having that second helping remains to be seen!

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