We often develop bad habits because they give us some sort of reward in the moment. ... But in the end, those habits are leading to outcomes you don’t want. The insight, then, is this: there’s a difference between rewards and outcomes. We experience rewards from our behaviors immediately, whereas outcomes occur later—for better or worse. This is why we have habits we can’t seem to change, even when they’re leading to long-term outcomes we don’t want. Often a reward is keeping us stuck.
... you can’t break a bad habit; you can only replace it. We often call this The Golden Rule of habit change. People are ineffective at changing habits when they focus on what they want to stop doing. They become more effective when they focus on what they’ll start doing instead.
Think hard about why your current behavior is so rewarding. Make a list of all the things it’s doing for you. Then look for an alternate behavior that will deliver some of those same rewards but lead to better outcomes. The amazing thing about habits is if you can identify the cue and the reward, you can swap the routine in that loop and create a whole new habit.
Before you can have a productive conversation with someone else about a difficult, painful, or emotional topic, you need to have a productive conversation with yourself. You need to truly understand your intent for wanting to have the conversation and challenge your motives to get clear on what they are. In other words, what is your goal here?