Some habits do not upset us, but others can cause irritation, frustration and desperation. We want to rid ourselves of them: but how?
When we look at the creation and fulfillment of thoughts, it looks like a closed system: the thoughts lead to actions, the actions create a series of impressions (sanskars), and these impressions are responsible for similar thoughts, which lead us to similar actions, this is a vicious cycle.
If we want to change a habit, then where do we start? In other words, where do we change the system or how do we get out of the cycle? First of all, we can try changing our negative actions: for example, stop a negative habit like smoking. In many cases, although we change our behaviour, but because we have not understood deeply why we wanted to do it, is quite possible that one day we will go back to this old habit.
We can try changing this system in our subconscious. By analysing what is recorded in our subconscious, through different therapies, the results are not altogether satisfactory. There is always some traumatic event, or painful experience behind a fear which causes us to cling on to a negative habit. And although we can see and recognise our fears and anxieties, if we do not replace them with something better, with a more beneficial and healthier alternative, very often we will feel tempted to cling on to these old systems, even though they do not work and they make us unhappy. To eliminate certain things we have recorded in our subconscious, meditation and silence are the most effect non-violent methods.
Another method is to try and change our beliefs with positive affirmations (thoughts) that strengthen our willpower, and thus introduce a new habit to replace the old one. It is vital not to repeat this affirmation mechanically, but to introduce it into the system of beliefs we hold, and act as if we already were what we express in this affirmation.