Breaking Habits

By John McMullin, H.C.


From a holistic perspective, habits are the thoughts and behaviors dedicated to self preservation and survival learned from both painful and joyful experiences. Each person travels a unique journey through life and in that process creates beliefs and behavior to help various parts of the ego to feel valued and safe. Some learned habits serve us well as they become a functional part of our life. When habits are used appropriately, they allow us to multi-task and create a feeling of self empowerment and focused effort. Dysfunctional habits create fear and shame which keep us in a hypnotic trance and the cycle of behavior continues to repeat.  Dysfunctional habits seem to disrupt healthy living and we realize we are not in control of our habits, but rather our habits are in control of us.

Although habits can be judged either good or bad through our value system, they are simply beliefs and thoughts that serve us or destroy us. Many of our habits are expressed without conscious intention.  They come from the subconscious and unconscious realms and create the illusion of control. Habits become dysfunctional when we act out thoughtless behavior and drift into a hypnotic trance which can have devastating consequences. As observers of our life, we step back and notice the functional and dysfunctional beliefs and behaviors we express. We become curious about their origins, and why some of our habits won’t change.

Our habits can humble us from a place of curiosity, or humiliate us from a place of shame or fear. From the ego’s point of view, parts of our minds are conflicted. As the war rages within us, we notice ourselves acting out behavior that disappoints shames or threatens us.  Could it be true that each of us has some attachment to shame and fear, because these aspects give us the illusion of controlling ourselves or others? Obsessive, compulsive, and addictive habits are forms of attachment that deflect us from a greater fear or shame.

Although we believe our greatest fear or shame is not meeting expectations of self or others, the deeper fear or shame resides in our power and loveliness. The holistic view suggests we use dysfunctional habits to validate our shame or fear for the deflection of higher insights. One of the most seductive dysfunctional habits is a numbing, or disassociating, to prevent us from attaching emotions to our thinking and life experiences. This keeps many people enduring life rather than living the full spectrum of their sensitivity, compassion, and self realization.

Teaching our mind to use habits, rather than habits using us, requires conscious attention and a realization that the part of our mind that created the habits used them for disassociation, deflection, numbing, and to keep us confused and unfocused. Breaking dysfunctional habits requires an honest appraisal of our lifestyle, including our beliefs and behaviors. Since many dysfunctional beliefs are created out of reaction to a fearful encounter we can’t even recall, observing the resulting behaviors without judgment is important in creating change.

    How do we begin the journey of changing our habits? Become an observer of self, notice the predictable reactions to the challenges in life, and become curious about where you learned to disconnect in the interest of feeling protected or valued. Ask yourself how you can stay present in your feelings and body and not shame yourself for the intense emotions experienced. Learn to re-parent the parts of your ego by acknowledging your courage to change your experiences. Invite yourself to express and behave from a place of humbleness and make a mental choice to minimize the need to prove or defend anything. Ask yourself to become curious about the behavior of others and self and learn to minimize your judgment of both.

The following steps have helped many people change habits and bring a sense of self empowerment into their life:

  1. Inventory and prioritize which habits you want to change.
  2. Decide which habit would be easiest to change and begin with it so you experience a sense of accomplishment.
  3. Since habits come from a place in our mind that is subconscious and reactive, give yourself permission to be conflicted.  Ask yourself, “What part of my ego wants the change and what part of my ego benefits from no change?”
  4. Realize that habits are not changed from intellectual desire, but rather from emotional desire. Use your imagination and imagine how it would feel to live your life with a new habit.
  5. Be willing to barter with the part of your ego that doesn’t want to change.  Explore what would create a higher threshold of gratification by changing the habit.
  6. Since dysfunctional habits create an illusion of power through defiance, consider using a hypnotherapist to lift you out of the hypnotic trance that continues to create dysfunctional habits and to assist you in creating positive associations with new behaviors.
  7. Celebrate your conscious focus and desire to observe the ego parts that have been acting out childish behavior as you bring them into childlike curiosity and excitement for living in life rather than enduring life.
  8. Teach yourself not to shame your rate of progress, rather embrace the idea that this long lived dysfunctional habit will change when the conflicted parts of your ego feel integrated.


Changing habitual behavior is a process which creates an appreciation for the diversity and complexity of our ego agendas.  Be compassionate with yourself. Each person creates their own journey of releasing bad habits and adopting good habits through conscious choice.


John McMullin, H.C. is the founder of Journeys of Wisdom where thousands of people have benefited from his intuitive, holistic teachings.  Through the hundreds of classes available and different modalities offered, attendees have discovered spiritual and harmonious self empowerment leading to paths of wellness.  John may be contacted by calling 614-888-1240 or emailing: