Change your bad habits by not giving in to urges. You think your urge is strong and has power. It is strong, but it doesn’t have inherent power because the urge is armless and legless desire that, for example, forces you to run the red light.
Do not focus on the strength of the urge because if you consider yourself as a child of God and call Him “Our Father,” then know, that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John. 4:4) These are just common ways the devil attacks you, especially during prayers.
How To Change The Bad Habit
When the urge comes, know that this desire of doing something bad is a temporary thought. And because these sinful thoughts are temporary, you have a choice. They may always come and go. You have two choices: to give in or wait them out with prayer. When you renounce it, do not look back.
St. Neilos the Asketic writes “We gain nothing, therefore, by our decision to renounce earthly things if we do not abide by it, but continue to be attracted by such things and allow ourselves to keep thinking about them. By constantly looking back like Lot’s wife towards what we have renounced, we make clear our attachment, to it. For she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt, remaining to this day an example to the disobedient (cf. Gen. 19:26). She symbolizes the force of habit, which draws us back again after we have tried to make a definitive act of renunciation.”
When you renounce the temporary urge, do not look back. Instead, pray to God for strength and believe that the strength will come. It is promised by our Lord Jesus. He said “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24) Therefore, believing in the power of God is key in breaking the bad habit.
You Are The Decider of Who Will Occupy Your Thoughts
Once you pray with faith, trust that the Lord is going to send you the necessary ability, called the Grace of God, to fight the urge and drive it out of your mind. As a result you will stop acting on your bad desires. While they may still come and go (because our life is a spiritual warfare), they will not hijack your mind and you will distance yourself from them.
Our Lord said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). You have a choice: either serve the Lord or give in the one who injects urges of bad habits to your mind.
Memory of God
Invite Jesus into your mind. Keep the memory about the taste of his sweetness fresh in your intellect. Willingly increase the love of God in your thoughts, mind and heart so that your mind is fully occupied by the memory of Jesus, and sinful urges can’t even come close. The memory of Jesus is crucial in order for you to make the right decisions and break the bad habits. As St Paul says: “This is my prayer, that your love may grow more and more in knowledge and in all perception, so that you choose what is best” (Phil. 1:9-10).
That’s how you break the bad habit. That’s how you change the bad habit: by keeping the memory of God fresh in your intellect and occupying your mind with thoughts of God. You can change. You can become what God wants you to be because you “can do all things through him, who strengthens” you. (Philippians 4:13)