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#RamadanTips – Episode 9: Time For Change

What are habits? Actions that take practice and repetition to form. Having habits can often be a good thing. But sometimes, habits can lead us astray—whether it’s turning to comfort food when we’re sad or taking a cigarette break when stressed.

Old habits die hard! It is true. Changing them, especially if you’ve been engaging in them for a long time, takes the same process- practice and repetition.

When we identify a bad habit, we need to recognize that this particular habit comes from our nafs (ego) seeking instant gratification and pleasure. It all starts with a trigger and then an impulse or crave.

Breaking bad habits is a struggle against our nafs.

Pause for a moment and think about an urge that you recently experienced. Observe the sensations that come up as you think about it and notice how these sensations shift across time. Use your breath to help you cope when you feel those changes in your body.

When we are mindful in every moment, we can fight this urge and disengage. Like Ibn Al Qayyim said, “Know that passing thoughts are not harmful. For a thought is like a passerby on the road; if you ignore him, he will depart from you.”

It’s time for a change.

Here’s a list of things you can do to help break bad habits:

– Identify your triggers
– Focus on why you want to change
– Have a friend’s support
– Practice mindfulness
– Replace the habit with a different one
– Leave yourself reminders
– Prepare for slipups
– Start small
– Change your environment
– Visualize yourself breaking the habit
– Practice self-care
– Motivate yourself with rewards for success
– Give it time
Ramadan is the best time to break free from habits that hinders your spiritual growth. So let’s start practicing today.