For example, if you are a smoker, of course, you enjoy a nicotine rush, but you may also be gaining other benefits. Smoking may be your way of relaxing socially. The act of smoking, particularly if you roll your own, gives you something to do with your hands and keep busy with to save you from feeling socially awkward.
Smoking may also serve the function of helping you bond with other smokers. This is particularly the case if you live in a place where smoking is not allowed in public buildings, so smokers huddle together outside, all with a common goal in mind.
To break this particular habit you would need to fulfill your need to be socially confidant in ways that are more productive.
Replacing behavior is only one aspect however, of breaking a bad habit. Another very positive method is to picture yourself with the changes you require already in place. In this case, that would mean positively visualizing yourself as a non-smoker.
What you concentrate on regularly, you provide with energy. If you want to give up chocolate cake and all day you visualize a delicious cake and yourself concentrating on not eating it, what will you most want to do by the end of the day? Eat chocolate cake of course.
By concentrating on the image of yourself eating cake, you will have been sending a message to your subconscious to do so. By concentrating instead on visualizing yourself eating healthily or enjoying exercise whilst looking happy, slim and fit, you would be far more likely to break your cake eating habit.
It is also the case that by having other constant visual images of what you want to give up around you will be sending your energy in the wrong direction too. This means that if you wanted to give up smoking you would be wise to remove cigarettes from your house and avoid places others are smoking whilst you are vulnerable.
When the habit you want to break is emotional rather than involving a material object such as a cigarette or cake, you still need to observe what its purpose is. For example if your habit is procrastination, it could be that by putting off tasks you are keeping a constant stream of busy chores before you instead of letting yourself have free time. In this case, perhaps you are afraid to branch out and confidently find a pastime. This is indication of a lack of self-esteem.
In the above example you would do well to discover your priorities, delegate tasks instead of shouldering all responsibilities, and consider what else you would be doing if you managed to get chores out the way and had spare time. You could then visualize being organized and achieving tasks while feeling and looking confidant and happy. Affirmations would help too. By concentrating on positives, such as joy and freedom, you would be far more likely to reach your desired goal.
Breaking bad habits is not easy, partly because the nature of a habit is that it is repeated often until it has become ingrained into daily life. To truly change it you need to be ruthless by repeating a healthy habit until this behavior replaces the old one.